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1 December 2018 Grizzly bear consumption of midges in Yellowstone National Park
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Abstract
Grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) are omnivore generalists that eat a wide array of plants and animals, including insects. Human-induced changes in climate may affect the species composition, abundance, range, and elevational distribution of the plants and animals consumed by grizzly bears. Therefore, determining the current food habits of grizzly bears is important for documenting future changes in food resources and how those changes may affect the nutritional ecology of grizzlies. In 2011, we observed grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park (YNP) eating midges from the family Chironomidae along the shoreline of Yellowstone Lake. Midges are small, swarming aquatic insects that occasionally wash ashore in large numbers around the lake. To our knowledge, grizzly bear consumption of midges had not previously been reported in YNP despite extensive bear food-habits studies conducted there. We believe that midges are likely an opportunistic food for grizzlies, eaten only during sporadic periods of super-abundance.
© 2018 International Association for Bear Research and Management
Kerry A. Gunther, Amanda M. Bramblett and Robert J. Weselmann "Grizzly bear consumption of midges in Yellowstone National Park," Ursus 29(1), (1 December 2018). https://doi.org/10.2192/URSUS-D-17-00029.1
Received: 20 December 2017; Accepted: 26 March 2018; Published: 1 December 2018
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