Sika Deer pp 231-237 | Cite as

Geographical Variations in Food Habits of Sika Deer: The Northern Grazer vs. the Southern Browser

  • Seiki Takatsuki

Based on the fall/winter food compositions of 19 local sika populations from Hokkaido to Kyushu, covering the cool temperate zone to the warm temperate zone, a clear tendency was found. The northern sika deer (>36° N) were dependent on dwarf bamboos and other graminoids, while the southern deer (<35° N) were dependent on browse and fruits. That is, the northern deer were grazers while the southern one were browser types in food habits. This largely corresponded to the genetic groups as well as vegetational zones. The populations around 35° N were variable and the proportions of graminoids ranged from 20% to 80%. The food compositions of sika deer on the Japanese Archipelago vary greatly, suggesting elasticity of this cervid. The background of this difference is discussed.


Food Habit Sika Deer Dwarf Bamboo Large Ungulate Cool Temperate Zone 
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© Springer 2009

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  • Seiki Takatsuki

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