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1 December 2009 Carnivory is Positively Correlated with Latitude among Omnivorous Mammals: Evidence from Brown Bears, Badgers and Pine Martens
Egle Vulla, Keith A. Hobson, Marju Korsten, Malle Leht, Ants-Johannes Martin, Ave Lind, Peep Männil, Harri Valdmann, Urmas Saarma
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Abstract

Omnivores exploit numerous sources of protein and other nutrients throughout the year, and meat is generally considered a high-quality resource. However, it is unknown if there is any general association between latitude and carnivorous behavior in omnivorous mammals. We examined the relative importance of meat and other dietary components, including anthropogenic food items, in the diet of brown bears (Ursus arctos) in Estonia using conventional scat- and stomach-content analyses as well as stable-isotope (δ15N, δ13C) analyses. When food habits of brown bears in Estonia were compared with those of other populations in central and northern Europe, the proportion of animal prey in the diet was positively correlated with latitude. Further comparison with the data on the diet of two other omnivorous mammals, the European badger (Meles meles) and the European pine marten (Martes martes), provides evidence that increased carnivory towards northern latitudes may be a general adaptation in omnivorous mammals.

© Finnish Zoological and Botanical Publishing Board 2009
Egle Vulla, Keith A. Hobson, Marju Korsten, Malle Leht, Ants-Johannes Martin, Ave Lind, Peep Männil, Harri Valdmann, and Urmas Saarma "Carnivory is Positively Correlated with Latitude among Omnivorous Mammals: Evidence from Brown Bears, Badgers and Pine Martens," Annales Zoologici Fennici 46(6), 395-415, (1 December 2009). https://doi.org/10.5735/086.046.0601
Received: 17 November 2008; Accepted: 1 March 2009; Published: 1 December 2009
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