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Interspecific and geographic variation in the diets of sympatric carnivores: dingoes/wild dogs and red foxes in south-eastern Australia

Davis, Naomi E., Forsyth, David M., Triggs, Barbara, Pascoe, Charlie, Benshemesh, Joe, Robley, Alan, Lawrence, Jenny, Ritchie, Euan G., Nimmo, Dale G. and Lumsden, Lindy F. 2015, Interspecific and geographic variation in the diets of sympatric carnivores: dingoes/wild dogs and red foxes in south-eastern Australia, PLoS one, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 1-28, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0120975.

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Title Interspecific and geographic variation in the diets of sympatric carnivores: dingoes/wild dogs and red foxes in south-eastern Australia
Author(s) Davis, Naomi E.
Forsyth, David M.
Triggs, Barbara
Pascoe, Charlie
Benshemesh, Joe
Robley, Alan
Lawrence, Jenny
Ritchie, Euan G.ORCID iD for Ritchie, Euan G. orcid.org/0000-0003-4410-8868
Nimmo, Dale G.
Lumsden, Lindy F.
Journal name PLoS one
Volume number 10
Issue number 3
Start page 1
End page 28
Total pages 28
Publisher Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Place of publication San Francisco, Calif.
Publication date 2015
ISSN 1932-6203
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
CANIS-LUPUS-DINGO
FLUCTUATING PREY POPULATIONS
VULPES-VULPES
WESTERN-AUSTRALIA
WILD DOGS
FEEDING ECOLOGY
GREY KANGAROOS
ARID AUSTRALIA
TOP-PREDATOR
BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION
Summary Dingoes/wild dogs (Canis dingo/familiaris) and red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are widespread carnivores in southern Australia and are controlled to reduce predation on domestic livestock and native fauna. We used the occurrence of food items in 5875 dingo/wild dog scats and 11,569 fox scats to evaluate interspecific and geographic differences in the diets of these species within nine regions of Victoria, south-eastern Australia. The nine regions encompass a wide variety of ecosystems. Diet overlap between dingoes/wild dogs and foxes varied among regions, from low to near complete overlap. The diet of foxes was broader than dingoes/wild dogs in all but three regions, with the former usually containing more insects, reptiles and plant material. By contrast, dingoes/wild dogs more regularly consumed larger mammals, supporting the hypothesis that niche partitioning occurs on the basis of mammalian prey size. The key mammalian food items for dingoes/wild dogs across all regions were black wallaby (Wallabia bicolor), brushtail possum species (Trichosurus spp.), common wombat (Vombatus ursinus), sambar deer (Rusa unicolor), cattle (Bos taurus) and European rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus). The key mammalian food items for foxes across all regions were European rabbit, sheep (Ovis aries) and house mouse (Mus musculus). Foxes consumed 6.1 times the number of individuals of threatened Critical Weight Range native mammal species than did dingoes/wild dogs. The occurrence of intraguild predation was asymmetrical; dingoes/wild dogs consumed greater biomass of the smaller fox. The substantial geographic variation in diet indicates that dingoes/wild dogs and foxes alter their diet in accordance with changing food availability. We provide checklists of taxa recorded in the diets of dingoes/wild dogs and foxes as a resource for managers and researchers wishing to understand the potential impacts of policy and management decisions on dingoes/wild dogs, foxes and the food resources they interact with.
Language eng
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0120975
Field of Research 060801 Animal Behaviour
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2015, Public Library of Science (PLoS)
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30076718

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.