Balancing food, activity and the dangers of sunlit nights
Bleicher, Sonny S.; Haapakoski, Marko; Morin, Dana J.; Käpylä, Teemu; Ylönen, Hannu (2019). Balancing food, activity and the dangers of sunlit nights. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 73 (7), 95. DOI: 10.1007/s00265-019-2703-y
Published inBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
© The Author(s) 2019
Living in northern latitudes poses challenges to the animals that live in those habitats. The harsh environment provides a short breeding season where the sunlit summer nights provide little reprieve from visibility to predators and increased risk. In this paper, we tested the activity and food choice patterns of bank voles Myodes glareolus in early spring season, categorized by 18 h of daylight and 6 h of dusk in every day cycle. We found that territorial females showed a less predictable pattern of activity than males that were most active during the hours of dusk. The voles also showed preference to forage on high carbohydrate foods at sunset, while switching over to a more protein and fat-based diet towards sunrise. This shift is suggestive of a diet that is a direct adaptation to day-long fasts. Our results suggest a sensitive mechanism between food choice and predator avoidance in a system where light summer nights increase the predation risk considerably.