Common insects in New Zealand Book
- Miller, D.; Walker, A.K.
- Publisher / Organisation
- Reed, Wellington
- house mouse, Mus musculus, food habits, small mammal, invertebrates, lepidopteran larvae, sand dunes, Otago, New Zealand
- The diet of feral house mice (Mus musculus L.) inhabiting a sand dune ecosystem near Dunedin, New Zealand, was determined from the contents of 102 stomachs, and quantified in relation to season, gender and reproductive status by fitting linear logistic regression models to frequency of occurrence data. Mice were omnivorous, although their diet was biased towards invertebrates. Overall, 86% of stomachs examined contained plant material, and 90% contained invertebrate remains. Lepidopteran larvae (66% of stomachs), Coleoptera (64%, mostly larvae), and Araneae (58%) were important dietary items. Plant material was largely unidentifiable (61%) but included leaves and seeds from three common grass species. Mouse diet varied seasonally, with lepidopteran larvae and coleopteran larvae eaten significantly more often in summer. Reproductive state also influenced diet, at least in summer, when reproductive females ate Araneae more often than non-reproductive females. Results emphasise the importance of invertebrates in the diet of feral house mice, and the need for more detailed research.
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