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Myrmecophagy by Yellowstone grizzly bears
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Myrmecophagy by Yellowstone grizzly bears

Author: David Mattson
Publisher: National Research Council of Canada
Edition/Format: Article Article : English
Publication:Canadian Journal of Zoology, 79 (May, 2001): 779-793
Database:ArticleFirst
Other Databases: British Library SerialsArticleFirst
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Document Type: Article
All Authors / Contributors: David Mattson
ISSN:0008-4301
Language Note: English
Unique Identifier: 359278383
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Description: 15

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    schema:description "I used data collected during a study of radio-marked grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in the Yellowstone region from 1977 to 1992 to investigate myrmecophagy by this population. Although generally not an important source of energy for the bears (averaging <5% of fecal volume at peak consumption), ants may have been an important source of protein during midsummer and were heavily consumed during some years. Myrmecophagy was most common annually when known high-quality foods were scarce, as well as during the warmest months of the study, when regional average temperatures exceeded 12 15ʻC. Bears tended to select large ants (>8 mm long) nested in logs over small ants (<= 6 mm long) nested under stones. Optimal conditions for consumption of ants occurred on the warmest sites with ample substrate suitable for ant nests. For ants in mounds, this occurred at low elevations at non-forested sites. For ants in logs, this occurred at low elevations or on southerly aspects where there was abundant, large-diameter, well-decomposed woody debris under an open forest canopy. Grizzly bears selected moderately decomposed logs 4 5 dm in diameter at midpoint. Ants will likely become a more important food for Yellowstone's grizzly bears as currently important foods decline, owing to disease and warming of the regional climate. Les donněs recueillies de 1977 ̉1992 dans la rǧion de Yellowstone au cours d'une ťude de Grizzlis (Ursus arctos horribilis) porteurs d'm̌etteurs radio a permis d'ťudier la myrmčophagie chez cette population. Bien qu'une source peu importante d'ňergie pour les grizzlis (en moyenne, <5 % du volume fčal au moment de la consommation maximale), les fourmis peuvent constituer un apport important de protǐnes au milieu de l'ť ̌et elles sont consomměs en abondance certaines anněs. La mymčophagie est un phňomn̈e commun les anněs o ̮il y a pňurie d'aliments de haute qualit ̌et aussi au cours des mois les plus chauds, quand les tempřatures rǧionales moyennes dp̌assent 12 15ʻC. Les ours ont tendance ̉choisir les grosses fourmis (>8 mm) qui vivent dans les troncs tombš plutt̥ que les petites fourmis (<= 6 mm) dissimulěs sous les pierres. Les conditions optimales de consommation des fourmis se rǎlisent aux endroits les plus chauds o ̮les fourmis trouvent une grande abondance de substrats pour faire leur nid. Chez les fourmis qui font des monticules, ces conditions se rǎlisent ̉des sites non boisš, ̉faible altitude. Chez les fourmis qui vivent dans les troncs morts, ces conditions prv̌alent dans les terres basses ou sur les adrets o ̮elle trouvent en abondance des db̌ris de bois bien dčomposš de diamẗre important en milieu forestier ouvert. Les Grizzlis choisissent de prf̌řence les troncs moyennement dčomposš de 4 5 dm de diamẗre au milieu. Les fourmis risquent de devenir une nourriture plus abondante chez les Grizzlis de Yellowstone quand les sources de leurs aliments actuels seront p̌uisěs, ̉cause de la maladie ou du rčhauffement du climat local. [Traduit par la Rďaction]" ;
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