Variability in body mass and sexual dimorphism in Danish red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) in relation to population density

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  • Sussie Pagh, Aalborg Zoo
  • ,
  • Mette Sif Hansen, National Veterinary Institute
  • ,
  • Birger Jensen
  • Cino Pertoldi
  • Mariann Chriél, Technical University of Denmark

For the first time, temporal variability in body size and sexual dimorphism is revealed in foxes Vulpes vulpes from the same geographical area at over time. The weights and lengths of 552 Danish foxes were documented during three different periods: 1965–1977, 2012–2014 and the winter of 2015/2016. During the first and the third periods, the fox population was below the carrying capacity due to hunting pressure and canine distemper, respectively. Adult males were significantly (p < 0.01) heavier (mean weight: 7.7 kg and 7.5 kg respectively) in periods of low population density, i.e. 1965–1977 and compared to 2015/2016, compared to 2012–2014, when population density was high (the mean weight: 6.8 kg). However, no significant differences were found in the weight of females. Hence, sexual dimorphism ranged from 7.6 to 3.6 in adult foxes in low and high-density periods, respectively. During the winters of 2012–2014, no difference in body fat measured by rump fat thickness (RFT) was found between age groups and genders in contrast to 2015/2016, when RFT was significantly (p < 0.001) larger in adult females (mean RFT: 0.77 cm) than in adult males (mean RFT = 0.58cm).

OriginalsprogEngelsk
TidsskriftZoology and Ecology
Vol/bind28
Nummer1
Sider (fra-til)1-9
Antal sider9
ISSN2165-8005
DOI
StatusUdgivet - 2 jan. 2018

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