Hisano M.

Insectivory characteristics of the Japanese marten (Martes melampus): a qualitative review

Abstract Insects are rich in protein and thus are important substitute foods for many species of generalist feeders. This study reviews insectivory characteristics of the Japanese marten (Martes melampus) based on current literature. Across the 16 locations (14 studies) in the Japanese archipelago, a total of 80 different insects (including those only identified at genus, family, or order level) were listed as marten food, 26 of which were identified at the species level. The consumed insects were categorised by their locomotion types, and the Japanese martens exploited not only ground-dwelling species, but also arboreal, flying, and underground-dwelling insects, taking advantage of their arboreality and ability of agile pursuit predation. Notably, immobile insects such as egg mass of Mantodea spp, as well as pupa/larvae of Vespula flaviceps and Polistes spp. from wasp nests were consumed by the Japanese marten in multiple study areas. This review shows dietary generalism (specifically ‘food exploitation generalism’) of the Japanese marten in terms of non-nutritive properties (i.e., locomotion ability of prey).

Doi https://doi.org/10.35513/21658005.2019.1.9

Keywords Carnivore; diet; food habits; generalist; insects; invertebrates; trait; mustelid

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