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The Scientific World Journal
Volume 2012, Article ID 163920, 11 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1100/2012/163920
Research Article

Diet Composition and Feeding Strategies of the Stone Marten (Martes foina) in a Typical Mediterranean Ecosystem

1Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and Management, Department of Forestry and Natural Environment Management, Technological Educational Institute of Kavala, 1st km Drama-Mikrohori, 661 00 Drama, Greece
2Department of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, Faculty of Forestry and Natural Environment, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, P.O. Box 241, 540 06 Thessaloniki, Greece
3Hunting Confederation of Greece, 8 Fokionos Street, 105 63 Athens, Greece
44th Hunting Federation of Sterea Hellas, 8 Fokionos Street, 105 63 Athens, Greece

Received 16 October 2011; Accepted 17 November 2011

Academic Editors: R. Julliard and B. Tóthmérész

Copyright © 2012 Dimitrios E. Bakaloudis et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Stone martens (Martes foina) are documented as generalist throughout their distributional range whose diet composition is affected by food availability. We tested if this occurs and what feeding strategies it follows in a typical Mediterranean ecosystem in Central Greece by analysing contents from 106 stomachs, seasonally collected from three different habitats during 2003–2006. Seasonal variation in diet and feeding strategies was evident and linked to seasonal nutritional requirements, but possibly imposed by strong interference competition and intraguild predation. Fleshy fruits and arthropods predominated in the diet, but also mammals and birds were frequently consumed. An overall low dietary niche breadth ( 𝐵 A = 0 . 1 2 8 ) indicated a fruit specialization tendency. A generalised diet occurred in spring with high individual specialisation, whereas more animal-type prey was consumed than fruits. A population specialization towards fruits was indicated during summer and autumn, whereas insects were consumed occasionally by males. In those seasons it switched to more clumped food types such as fruits and insects. In winter it selectively exploited both adult and larvae insects and partially fruits overwinter on plants. The tendency to consume particular prey items seasonally reflected both the population specialist behaviour and the individual flexibility preyed on different food resources.