~ Publication details ~

Murdoch, J., S. Buyandelger, and B. Cypher. 2009. Patterns of seed occurrence in corsac and red fox diets in Mongolia. Journal of Arid Environments 73:381-384.

Abstract - Corsac fox (Vulpes corsac) and red fox (Vulpes vulpes) diets often consist of small quantities of vegetation, including fruit and seeds that may represent important sources of energy and nutrition. However, details of the species consumed are few, but may provide insight into the role of foxes as seed dispersers. We analyzed scats of corsac (n = 408) and red foxes (n = 533) collected in an arid region of Mongolia from June 2006 to June 2007. We found 13 seed species in corsac scats, the most common being Allium polyrhizum, Asparagus gobicus, and Tribulus terrestris, and 12 species in red fox scats, the most common being Amygdalus pedunculata, Corispermum mongolicum, and T. terrestris. The proportion of scats with seeds varied significantly by season for both foxes. Seeds occurred most frequently during the breeding
period, which corresponded with winter, and least frequently during the dispersal period in autumn for both species. We detected no differences in the proportion of scats with seeds between species seasonally. Our results suggest that fruit represents an important component of diet, especially during winter when availability of other prey items is low, and that both foxes may facilitate seed dispersal of some plant species.

Publisher - Elsevier

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