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1 September 2010 Food and Habitat Selection of Lepus brachyurus lyoni Kishida, a Near-Threatened Species on Sado Island, Japan
Rie Shimizu, Koji Shimano
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Abstract

We determined the environmental requirements for Lepus brachyurus lyoni on Sado Island, Japan, during the winter when food resources are low. Hare track survey sites were classified by vegetation type. The movement distances of hares, which indicated habitat preference, were evaluated as the relative length of tracks in a 1-ha area. In addition, we examined browse marks on plants and the protein content of plants to determine the preferred plant species. Movement distances of hares decreased significantly with increasing tree stand height, mean tree diameter, basal area of the tree stand, and forest canopy closure, but increased with branch-and-stem density. The percentage of browse marks on the branches of tree/shrub species decreased significantly with increasing branch-and-stem diameter. The rate of feeding increased significantly with increased protein content in the branches. These findings suggest that hares prefer shrub stands with high branch-and-stem density to mature forests, which have lower branch-and-stem densities. Hares also prefer branches and stems containing large amounts of protein. Young stands offering many shrub species as food resources and shelter constitute preferable environments for hares.

© the Mammalogical Society of Japan
Rie Shimizu and Koji Shimano "Food and Habitat Selection of Lepus brachyurus lyoni Kishida, a Near-Threatened Species on Sado Island, Japan," Mammal Study 35(3), 169-177, (1 September 2010). https://doi.org/10.3106/041.035.0303
Received: 6 May 2008; Accepted: 1 March 2010; Published: 1 September 2010
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