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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

A comparative analysis of wolf (Cam’s lupus) diet in three different Italian ecosystems

  • Claudia Capitani
  • I. Bertelli
  • P. Varuzza
  • M. Scandura
  • M. ApollonioEmail author
Original investigation

Abstract

To verify food habit flexibility of wolf populations under different ecological conditions, scats collected year round were analysed in three study areas and diet composition of resident packs was compared. The three study areas, representing Alpine (SV), Apennine (PM) and Mediterranean (CV) ecosystems, are rich in wild ungulates, which differ in number of species and relative abundance; livestock is also present. Wild ungulates were the main source of food, accounting for 89.4%-95.1% of the diet. Livestock, instead, scarsely reached 8% of annual mean percent volume in any one area, and only in the Alps did they play a major role in autumn. Other food items constituted less than 5% of annual mean percent volume. Variations in the proportions of use of wild ungulate categories were observed among the study areas, although some patterns of intraspecific selection emerged in each area. Finally, differences both in the relationships between utilisation and availability of preys, and in trophic niche breadth were discussed in relation to environmental features and colonization patterns.

Keywords

Canis lupus diet wild preys Italy 

Vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Nahrungsökologie des Europäischen Wolfes (Cam’s lupus) in drei verschiedenen ökosystemen Italiens

Zusammenfassung

Urn die FLexibilität in den Nahrungsgewohnheiten von Wolfspopulationen unter verschiedenen öko-logischen Bedingungen erfassen zu können, wurden im Jahresverlauf gesammelte Kotproben von drei, in unterschiedlichen Studiengebieten ansässigen Wolfsrudeln auf ihre Nahrungszusammenset-zung analysiert. Die drei Untersuchungsgebiete repräsentieren ein alpines (Susa Tal), ein apennini-sches (Pratomagno) und ein mediterranes ökosystem (Cecina Tal). Alle Habitate sind reich an wilden Huftieren, unterscheiden sich aber hinsichtlich der Artenviekfalt und ihrer prozentualen Zusammensetzung. Hinzu kommt ein gewisser Bestand an Schafen, Ziegen und Rindern in allen un-tersuchten Gebieten. Mit einem Anteil von 89 bis 95 Prozent waren wilde Huftiere die Hauptnah-rungsquelle der Wölfe. Das Hausvieh machte in den untersuchten Gebieten im Jahresmittel maximal 8 Prozent der Nahrung aus. Lediglich in den Alpen und dort nur im Herbst wurde es kurzzeitig die Hauptnahrungsquelle der Wölfe. Andere Nahrungsquellen erreichten einen mittleren AnteiL an der Nahrungszusammensetzung von weniger als 5 Prozent. Obwohl sich die Muster innerartlicher Selek-tion in den verschiedenen Gebieten nicht grundlegend unterscheiden, beobachteten wir Unter-schiede in der Beutenutzung der Wölfe. Letzteres wird in der Variation der Beuteverfügbarkeit und der Breite des Beutespektrums in Bezug auf Umweltbedingungen und Niveau der Kolonisierung dis-kutiert.

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia Capitani
    • 1
  • I. Bertelli
    • 1
  • P. Varuzza
    • 1
  • M. Scandura
    • 1
  • M. Apollonio
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Dipartimento di Zoologia e Antropologia BiologicaUniversità di SassariSassariItaly

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