1 January 2013 Seasonal Variation in Assimilated Diets of American Beavers
William J. Severud
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American beavers (Castor canadensis) forage on various aquatic and terrestrial plant species. We used stable isotope analysis of carbon (C) and nitrogen (N) to estimate source contributions of seasonal assimilated beaver diets in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, from Apr. 2007 to Nov. 2008. Mean (±95% confidence interval) annual beaver diets were estimated as 45.5 ± 11.4% terrestrial and 55.5% aquatic vegetation (22.0 ± 14.5 emergent and 33.5 ± 7.9 floating leaf). Percentages of floating leaf and terrestrial vegetation were similar between winter and summer assimilated diets, but emergent vegetation increased 45% in summer. Although δ15N was 7% greater in summer, δ15N and δ13C were similar by age class and sex, as were assimilated percentages of emergent, floating leaf or terrestrial vegetation. Variation in total assimilated aquatic vegetation did not affect subadult and adult seasonal changes in body mass, tail thickness or tail area, but kit body condition was negatively related to total assimilated aquatic vegetation. Aquatic vegetation accounted for more assimilated diet during winter than previously reported.

2013, American Midland Naturalist
William J. Severud "Seasonal Variation in Assimilated Diets of American Beavers," The American Midland Naturalist 169(1), 30-42, (1 January 2013). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031-169.1.30
Received: 18 July 2011; Accepted: 1 April 2012; Published: 1 January 2013
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