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Research article2019Peer reviewedOpen access

Diet shift in bank voles induced by competition from grey-sided voles?

Magnusson, Magnus; Samelius, Gustaf; Hornfeldt, Birger; Ecke, Frauke


Grey-sided voles (Myodes rufocanus) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus) co-exist in boreal forests in northern Scandinavia. Previous studies suggest that the 2 species interact interspecifically, the grey-sided vole being the dominant species. We tested the hypothesis that bank voles shift their diet due to competition with the dominant grey-sided vole by studying stable isotope ratios in both species. Muscle samples were taken from voles in patches of old forest occupied by only bank voles and patches of old forest occupied by both grey-sided voles and bank voles. We found that: (i) stable isotope ratios of bank voles differed in areas with and without grey-sided voles; and that (ii) the stable isotope ratios of bank voles were more similar to those of grey-sided voles in areas where grey-sided voles were absent. Our data suggests that grey-sided voles forced bank voles to change their diet due to interspecific competition.


competition; diet shift; Myodes glareolus; Myodes rufocanus; stable isotopes

Published in

Integrative Zoology
2019, Volume: 14, number: 4, pages: 376-382