We analyzed 78 rumen content samples obtained in middle and southern parts of Wakayama Prefecture, the southern-most part of Honshu, the main island of Japan from 1995 to 1998. The rumen contents were dominated by browse (leaves of woody plants). Evergreen broad-leaves such as Quercus spp., Eurya japonica, Ligustrum japonicum, and Aucuba japonica were dominant, occupying 30–45%. Deciduous broad-leaves including Rubus spp., Hydrangea luteo-venosa, and Callicarpa mollis accounted for 20–35%. Forbs accounted for 10–20%. Non-synthetic organs like twigs and bark accounted for only 2–5%, and graminoids and ferns appeared little. These results suggest that foods of the Wakayama deer are good in quality, particularly in winter. The comparison has shown that the Wakayama deer are categorized into the typical southern browser type. Geographical variations of the food contents of sika deer are demonstrated by greater contributions of graminoids as well as by summer-winter differences in the northern grazer type than the southern browser type. Percentage similarity (PS, Whittaker 1952) well demonstrated seasonal variations of dietary compositions.
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Vol. 36 • No. 2