Spring and summer food habits and habitat use of the Europena pine marten (Martes martes) on the island of Micorca, Spain


  • Anthony P. Clevenger

    1. Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville TN 37901, USA
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    • *Departamento de Biologia Animal, Universidad de León, 24071 León, Spain


The food habits and habitat use of pine marten (Martes martes L.) on the Balearic Island of Mincorca were studied from March-August 1990. In a 28.2 km2 area, a series of hiking trails/forest roads were used to collect pine marten faeces bi-monthly and study te species' differential use of habitats. A total of 28 different food items were identified in 723 faeces. Small mammals were the most important food overall, constituting 34% of the volume During March-April, small mammals were the principal food consumed (63% of volume), followed by birds (19%). In May-June, birds were the main food (40%), then small mammals. Plant material and insects were the most important foods in July-August, both made up 68% of the pine marten diet. The abundance of certain foods and the degree of difficulty in obtaining them appear to be important factors that govern pine marten food selection in Minorca. Habitat use was studied along 12 routes totalling 32.6 km. Pine marten showed preference in March-April for Coastal Shrubland habitat, while during May-June they were found most in the Upland Pine type. During July-August, the Upland Pine and Open Pine habitats were most frequented by pine marten. According to bimonthly food habits data, habitat use seems largely determined by the abundance and availability of their prey items in the available habitat types. Martens may concentrate hunting efforts in areas different from when they are not hunting. The Minorcan pine marten differs from continental populations in its wide use of shrublands, in addition to forests.