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Research article2002Peer reviewed

Winter herbivory by voles during a population peak: the importance of plant quality

Hamback PA, Grellmann D, Hjalten J


Bilberry shoots are one of the main food sources for grey-sided voles Clethrionomys rufocanus during winter. This study examined the relation between plant quality variables of bilberry Vaccinium myrtillus shoots, overall vegetation height, and the winter consumption of bilberry by grey-sided voles. Results show that only the phenolic concentration correlated significantly with the amount of bilberry biomass consumed, and bilberry consumption decreased with an increasing phenolic concentration. The best predictor of herbivory on bilberry was not plant quality but rather the overall vegetation height. This may be because the quality of bilberry shoots is high in all habitats and that predation is a greater mortality risk than nutritional deficiencies during winter

Published in

2002, Volume: 25, number: 1, pages: 74-80

      SLU Authors

    • Hjältén, Joakim

      • Department of Animal Ecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences related to Agriculture and Land-use

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)