What to eat if there are no fruits in the forest? The food of Muscardinus avellanarius in non-typical habitats (Rodentia: Gliridae) [Čím se živit nejsou-li v lese žádné plody? Potrava plšíka lískového (Muscardinus avellanarius) v netypickém
Irmhild Wolz, Nicole Bräsel, Sven Büchner
Faeces of the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) were collected from two forests dominated by Norway spruce (Picea abies) and three by European beech (Fagus sylvatica) for comparison with faeces from a species-rich broad-leafed forest. Samples were analysed under the microscope. At the species-rich forest the hazel dormice consumed inflorescences, acorns from the previous year, fungi and arthropods in spring, fruits (soft mast) in summer and hard mast in the autumn. As expected, there was no, or nearly no, soft mast in the hazel dormouse diet in the beech and spruce forests. The main food sources were inflorescences, seeds, arthropods and a rather high percentage of vegetative plant material. Besides the remains of insects from eight orders, we also found spiders (Araneae), harvesters (Opiliones) and centipedes (Chilopoda) as prey of hazel dormice. Hazel dormice can feed in beech woods on beech nuts in the autumn. However, it is not yet clear how they are able to gain weight in spruce dominated forests.