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Keywords:

  • Genet;
  • Genetta genetta;
  • diet;
  • niche breadth

Abstract

The geographical variation in the Genet Genetta genetta L. diet was analysed from 12 locations covering its entire range. Data were obtained from the available literature on food studies in this species. We studied the general food spectrum of this species and compared the importance of different prey items in each area through PCA analysis. The possible influence of some large-scale environmental factors (latitude, altitude, Mediterraneity) on diet were studied by means of regression analysis and anova. The study assessed the frequency of occurrence of each prey group and diet diversity. Results show the existence of two ‘food’ groups: (i) Genets which feed on a wide food spectrum, especially arthropods and (ii) Genets which feed on small mammals at a high frequency, while the remaining prey items are scarce or absent. At the intraspecific level, Genets behave as generalist species, with the small mammals (especially, the Woodmouse) as the most outstanding prey item. However, when compared with the diet of other medium-sized Palaearctic carnivores, we can say that the Genet is intermediate between typical generalists (Martens Martes spp., Red Foxes Vulpes vulpes and Badgers Meles meles) and specialists (Otters Lutra lutra, Stoat Mustela erminea and Weasel Mustela nivalis). Finally, anova shows the existence of a relationship between diet diversity and Mediterraneity (associated with taxa such as arthropods, reptiles and amphibians), but no relationship was found for latitude or altitude. The importance of interspecific competition, based on island data, is discussed.