Food Habits of Sika Deer on Kinkazan Island, Northern Japan with Reference to Local Variations, Size Effects, and Comparison with the Main Island
Food habits of sika deer (Cervus nippon) on Kinkazan Island were studied to show (1) whether local variations exist on this small island (9.6 km2); (2) which kinds of plants are the staple foods for the deer living in the plant communities heavily affected by deer gazing; and (3) whether dietary differences exist or not among males, females, and fawns. Plant availability on Kinkazan Island was characterized by higher frequency of forbs and lower frequency of browse and graminoids than other areas on the adjacent mainland. Local variations in foods were great, but grami-noids such as Zoysia japonica, Miscanthus sinensis, and/or Pleioblastus chino were consistently the staple foods. Forbs included many unpalatable plants and did not contribute greatly to the deer diets. Males tended to feed on lower quality foods, while fawns fed on nutritious foods. Food differences among the deer sex and age classes were greatest in spring and autumn, while they were smaller in summer and winter.
KeywordsFecal Pellet Food Habit Sika Deer Dwarf Bamboo Lower Quality Food
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