THE CARNIVORE COMMUNITY IN FUSHAN LTER SITE OF TAIWAN

Ling-Ling Lee

Department of Zoology, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan, ROC

Tel/Fax: 886-2-23634606

E-mail: leell@ccms.ntu.edu.tw

Abstract

At least 5 of 11 carnivore species native to Taiwan inhabit in Fushan LTER site. Among them, Herpestes urva, Melogale moschata, and Viverricula indica, are more abundant than Mustela sibirica, and Paguma larvata. Between 1993 and 1997, we conducted a series of studies on the food habits, activity patterns, and ranging behavior of these sympatric species.

The results of fecal analysis indicated that both Viverricula indica and Herpestes urva fed on a wide variety of food items, including mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, crustaceans, insects, oligochaetes, gastropods, chilopods, arachnids, and plants. Insects, oligochaetes, plants, and mammals were the four most important food items in civets' diet. Crustaceans, insects, amphibians, and reptiles were the four most important food items consumed by mongooses. Only amphibians, invertebrates, and plants were found in the ferret badger feces, and oligochaetes, insects, and amphibians were ferret badger's most important food items. The relative importance of invertebrates in the feces of the civet, mongoose, and ferret badger was 53.7%, 61.6%, and 90.5%, respectively. Therefore, invertebrates were the most important food source for these carnivores in Fushan forest. Food availability study showed a good correspondence between mongooses diet composition and the amount of crabs and insect collected each month.

Radio-tracking studies on 7 individuals (3 females and 4 males) revealed that Herpestes urva were diurnal. Daily activity began at 7:05+1:51, and ended at 18:47+1:19. Home ranges sizes, calculated by minimum convex polygon and 95% harmonic mean methods, was between 40.0 and 68.2 hectares. The degree of home range overlap between individuals was between 0 and 90%. The size of core area of activity was 7.96+2.41 hectares.

Radio-tracking studies on 6males showed that Mustela sibirica is active all day. Activity rate was higher during the day, with peak activity at 4 to 5 pm. The weasel may have 5 to10 active periods and 4 to 11 resting periods a day, with each active period lasting between 10 to 510 min. There is a significant variation in activity of the same individual in different days and between individuals. Home range sizes of 9 individuals (2 females and 7 males), based on data collected by radio-tracking and mark-recapture, ranged between 3.72 ~ 180.15 ha. The degree of home range overlap between individuals was between 0 and 100%. No significant territoriality was found, except in two adult males.

More studies on the population dynamics and habitat use of these carnivores will be conducted in the future.

Key words: Fushan, carnivore, diet, activity, home range.