Importance of small fishes and invasive crayfish in otter
The diet composition of the European otter Lutra lutra was assessed using spraint analysis in the Hampshire Avon, a lowland chalk stream in Southern England, over an 18-month period. Small cyprinid fishes were the main prey item taken in all seasons, with bullhead Cottus gobio and stone loach Barbatula barbatula also important; there were relatively few larger fishes of interest to fisheries found. There were significant seasonal differences in diet composition by season, with signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus only being prominent prey items in warmer months and amphibians in winter, revealing that non-fish resources were seasonally important dietary components. Reconstructed body lengths of prey revealed the only species present in diet >350 mm was pike Esox lucius. These dietary data thus provide important information for informing conservation conflicts between otters and fishery interests.
Auteurs du document :
J. Robert Britton, Matthew Berry, Samantha Sewell, Corina Lees, Peter Reading
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Mots clés :
otter spraint, angling, conservation conflict, épreinte de loutre, pêche à la ligne, conflit de conservation