The functional response of post-dispersal seed predators (house mouse, Mus musculus to absolute densities of southern beech seed ( Nothofagus solandri var. cliffortioides) was studied in laboratory and field trials. House mice showed a Type II (hyperbolic) functional response to seed availability and this was not modified by the presence of an alternative food source (naturally occurring lepidopteron larvae). Using field enclosures erected in a beech forest, we provided a single mouse (n=40) with a set quantity of beech seed for 24 hrs. Between 10 and 2000 seeds were offered. We then recovered the uneaten seed and husks and counted them. Maximum daily intake rate of beech seeds during field trials averaged 1042 seeds mouse-1 although mice ate close to 100% of seeds when up to 800 seeds were offered. This is theoretically sufficient to provide house mice with both the energy and protein required for growth and reproduction.
|Author||Ruscoe, W., Elkinton, J., Choquenot, D. and Allen, R.|
|Secondary title||13th Australasian Vertebrate Pest Conference|
|Place published||Wellington, NZ|