Body size in the Eurasian lynx in Sweden: dependence on prey availability

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2009
Authors:Yom-Tov, Y, Kjellander, P, Yom-Tov, S, Mortensen, P, Andren, H
Journal:Polar Biology
Date Published:2009
Keywords:Lynx lynx

The Eurasian lynx (Lynx lynx) is a common predator of both roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus) in Sweden. We investigated the influence of prey availability, latitude, sex, and age on body size and body mass variation of the Eurasian lynx in Sweden, using data from 243 specimens whose locality of capture, year of capture, sex, and age were known. We found that both body size and body mass of the lynx in Sweden are mainly affected by the lynx sex and age but also by the availability of prey during the first year of life. Body size and body mass of lynx as well as the density of roe deer increased from Central Sweden to South. Furthermore, body size and body mass of lynx increased from Central Sweden to North (i.e. within the reindeer husbandry area). Lynx body size was slightly smaller within the reindeer husbandry area (approximately north of latitudes 62°-63°N) compared to outside, probably because reindeer are more difficult prey to hunt, as well as being migratory and thus an unpredictable prey for the Eurasian lynx compared to the non-migratory roe deer. Our results support a growing body of evidence showing that food availability at growth has a major effect on body size of animals. © 2009 Springer-Verlag.

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