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formerly Central European Journal of Biology

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Small mammal mycophagy in hemiboreal forest communities of Lithuania

1Coastal Research and Planning Institute, Klaipėda University, LT 92294, Klaipėda, Lithuania

2Department of Botany and Genetics, Vilnius University, LT 03101, Vilnius, Lithuania

3Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Botany, Nature Research Centre, LT 08406, Vilnius, Lithuania

© 2011 Versita Warsaw. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

Citation Information: Open Life Sciences. Volume 6, Issue 3, Pages 446–456, ISSN (Online) 2391-5412, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/s11535-011-0006-z, April 2011

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The diets of small mammals in different hemiboreal spruce-dominated, oak-dominated and mixed forests in western part of Lithuania were studied by examination of fungal spores in fresh fecal pellets of caught animals. In the diets of mice (Apodemus spp.), bank voles (Myodes glareolus), and common and pygmy shrews (Sorex araneus and S. minutus), 22 different fungal taxa were identified, 15 of which were hypogeous fungi. The sporocarp abundance and the spores in fecal samples of Elaphomyces fungi prevailed in study area during this investigation. Although most of the captured individuals consumed fungi, the consumption varied among small mammal species. The data show that the fungi were more frequent and taxonomically diverse in Myodes glareolus than in Apodemus spp. diets. The study provided evidence that the fungal component in the diets of insectivorous Sorex species is more diverse than previously known. The availability of sporocarps and the fungal component in the diets of small mammals showed seasonal effects. Annual hypogeous and epigeous sporocarp abundances did not vary significantly across forest types. The significant difference in mycophagy was observed across all forest cover types, with the greatest fungal diversity in fecal samples collected in mixed coniferous-deciduous tree stands.

Keywords: fungal diversity; Myodes; Apodemus; Sorex; diet

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