1999 Volume 24 Issue 2 Pages 91-102
The diet of the Japanese serow (Capricornis crispus) was analyzed quantitatively in a high density (14.8±3.0 individuals/km2) population throughout the year by direct observation of feeding behavior on the Shimokita Peninsula, northern Japan, during two survey periods, 1978-1980 and 1994-1996. Serows fed on 114 plants species and one species of fungus. Analyses of 16,686 bites indicated that serows fed mainly on leaves and twigs of deciduous broad-leaved trees, which formed 54.8-58.3% of the diet in autumn and 94.5-95.0% in winter, followed by forbs (16.5-39.1% from spring to autumn). The results suggest that the Japanese serow is a browser throughout the year, and is mainly a folivore. There was no significant difference in the dietary composition at the food category level, nor was there any change in the diversity index of the diet between the two study periods. The four top-ranking food species were identical in the both periods. Browsing by Japanese serows may have only limited impacts on vegetation because of low population densities related to territoriality.
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