Foraging behaviour of dormice Muscardinus avellanarius in two contrasting habitats.
Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
Journal of Zoology
Volume 230, Issue 1, pages 69–85, May 1993
How to Cite
Bright, P. W. and Morris, P. A. (1993), Foraging behaviour of dormice Muscardinus avellanarius in two contrasting habitats. Journal of Zoology, 230: 69–85. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1993.tb02673.x
- Issue published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 23 MAR 2009
- Accepted 30 March 1992
Anatomical evidence suggests that the dormourse is a specialist feeder. Radio-tracking and direct observation confirm this, highly selective, arboreal feeding behaviour. Dormice choose flowers and fruits from a series of trees and shrubs as each becomes seasonally available. Deferred breeding and a high incidence of diurnal torper suggest that dormice experience food shortage in spring. In early summer, when flowering has ended, but fruits are not yet ripe, dormice may again suffer food shortage. At this time they appear to supplement their diet by taking insects, another high-quality food with cyclic availability. Although some tree species are particularly valuable to dormice, they may not be essential if alternatives exist. A spectrum of species which will ensure a continuum of differeing food supplies, within a small area, is essential. This im;plies a need for heterogeneous woodland structure. The implications for conversation management are discussed.