2016 Volume 56 Issue 1 Pages 17-25
The food habits of the Japanese marten (Martes melampus melampus) at Otome Highland, central Japan were studied via fecal analysis (n = 756) from April 2006 to April 2012. Food habits were characterized by a predominance of fleshy fruits in autumn and winter (frequencies of occurrence, FO, were higher than 80%), insects in summer (FO = 40–80%), and mammals in winter and spring (FO = 60–80%). This study firstly showed the high frequency of cicada larvae in early summer (FO = 46.7%) in the martens’ feces. Camel crickets (FO = 10–40%) were also important foods in autumn and winter. Many plants bearing fleshy fruits fed on by the marten were forest edge plants. Among them, Actinidia arguta (FO = 33.6%) and Vitis coignetiae (FO = 19.5%), both forest edges lianas, were frequently found. Among the 10 species and 3 genera of seeds recovered from the droppings, about half (5 species and 1 genus) were forest-edge plants (FO = 79.9%). This result suggests the marten selectively used the fruits of forest-edge plants. The FO of sika deer (Cervus nippon) hair did not show a yearly increase, suggesting that the marten began eating it as early as in 2006.