The diet and feeding habits of Eurasian otters (Lutra lutra) were studied by spraint analysis over a one year period on the four sections of the Jajrood River, eastern Tehran. Two methods were used to estimate the proportions of different prey consumed: frequency of occurrence and score-bulk estimate. The number of prey categories in a spraint varied between one and four. Fish, crabs, birds and insects were found in the spraints. Fish is the main prey. Otters mainly eat fish, preferring three species: the chub (Leuciscus cephalus), riffle minnow (Alburnoides bipunctatus) and various barbel (Capoeta spp.) species. The otters' diet differed significantly across four sites positive for otter sign. Seasonal variation was also found: birds were taken more in the cold season and insects in the warm season. The proportion of crab in the diet was almost constant throughout the year. Leuciscus cephalus was the most taken fish species in the cold season and Capoeta spp. in the warm season. Only L. Cephalus appeared to be preferred. There was no significant correlation between the estimated proportion of fish in the diet and relative prey fish population at any of the four studies sites.
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Vol. 39 • No. 1