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The Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids$
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David W. Macdonald and Claudio Sillero-Zubiri

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780198515562

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198515562.001.0001

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Arctic foxes

Arctic foxes

Consequences of resource predictability in the Arctic fox—two life history strategies

(p.163) CHAPTER 8 Arctic foxes
The Biology and Conservation of Wild Canids

Anders Angerbjörn

Pall Hersteinsson

Magnus Tannerfeldt

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the life history characteristics of two Arctic fox populations, a relatively stable one in Iceland and a fluctuating one in Sweden. Intraspecific variation in reproductive and social strategies of Arctic foxes in Sweden and Iceland suggests that adaptations to different resource distributions in have resulted in divergence in strategies between the two populations. In Sweden, where food availability fluctuates widely in time but less in space, the foxes have adopted the ‘jackpot’ strategy which exhibits enormous variation in reproductive output from year to year with much inter-annual variation in cub and juvenile survival, depending on food availability. In Iceland, on the other hand, where food availability is predictable in time and space, reproductive output is stable with small litter sizes, high cub survival, and intermediate dispersal distances, and female yearlings frequently use their natal territories as a base while searching for a vacant territory or mate in the neighbourhood.

Keywords:   Arctic fox, Iceland, Sweden, abundance, food sources, intraspecific variation, reproductive strategy, social strategy

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