Document Detail

Environmental variation at the onset of independent foraging affects full-grown body mass in the red fox.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  18628118     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
The period following the withdrawal of parental care has been highlighted as a key developmental period for juveniles. One reason for this is that juveniles cannot forage as competently as adults, potentially placing them at greater risk from environmentally-induced changes in food availability. However, no study has examined this topic. Using a long-term dataset on red foxes (Vulpes vulpes), we examined (i) dietary changes that occurred in the one-month period following the attainment of nutritional independence, (ii) diet composition in relation to climatic variation, and (iii) the effect of climatic variation on subsequent full-grown mass. Diet at nutritional independence contained increased quantities of easy-to-catch food items (earthworms and insects) when compared with pre-independence. Interannual variation in the volume of rainfall at nutritional independence was positively correlated to the proportion of earthworms in cub diet. Pre-independence cub mass and rainfall immediately following nutritional independence explained a significant proportion of variance in full-grown mass, with environmental variation affecting full-grown mass of the entire cohorts. Thus, weather-mediated availability of easy-to-catch food items at a key developmental stage has lifelong implications for the development of juvenile foxes by affecting full-grown mass, which in turn appears to be an important component of individual reproductive potential.
Carl D Soulsbury; Graziella Iossa; Philip J Baker; Stephen Harris
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Proceedings. Biological sciences / The Royal Society     Volume:  275     ISSN:  0962-8452     ISO Abbreviation:  Proc. Biol. Sci.     Publication Date:  2008 Oct 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2008-09-10     Completed Date:  2008-11-18     Revised Date:  2013-06-05    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101245157     Medline TA:  Proc Biol Sci     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  2411-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Woodland Road, Bristol BS8 1UG, UK.
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MeSH Terms
Body Size
Cohort Studies
Feeding Behavior*
Foxes / growth & development*
Statistics, Nonparametric

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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