Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Hares Fell Trees

29.01.2003


It seems that biologists know everything about the Alpine hare (Lepus timidus), particularly about its ration. However, the Yakut scientists, Anatoly Pshennikov and Vladimir Pozdnyakov have discovered a previously unknown method the hares employ in wintertime when they suffer from the lack of food.

Forage is scarce in winter in Yakutia. The Alpine hares are content to feed on bushes and young trees. If the distance between the ground and a thin twig is less than a meter, the hare bites it off. This is the best food the hare can count on in wintertime. Thin sprouts make quick and substantial food for hares (1 gram of forage per 40-45 seconds). When there are no twigs available within their reach, the hares make a ’ring’ on the tree, gnawing the rind and bast round the trunk. Sometimes a thin tree fails to stand it and falls down, and then the hare gets tasty twigs. If young trees are gnawed round, the hares have to feed on the rind of old trees, although this does not happen often. These are the traditions of the hare nutrition.

Nevertheless, hunger can make the animals change their ration. If the hares happen to find hay - they feed on hay. Once, in place of such stack there remained only a circle of hare excrement 7-10 centimeters high along the perimeter, hay-dust mixed with excrements lying in the middle. Sometimes the hares nibble tar, polyethylene, tarpaulin. The hunters from the town of Verkhoiansk used to tell about the cases when the hares were eating their entrapped congeners. However, there is one more way of getting food - an unconventional method of getting traditional forage. To get hold of tasty thin twigs, the hares purposefully fell trees.



The animals can cope with the trunks up to 4.5 meters in diameter. In different areas of Yakutia they deal with willows, alders, birches and larches. The hares fell the trees and normally gnaw away all young sprouts and twigs, but the rind often remains intact as it is less tasty. In other words, the hares picked up the method of food procurement the beavers employ. Unlike the beavers nibbling the trees taper off, the hares do not gnaw the trunks round, but do that on one side. The animals have to gnaw out up to 8 to10 cubic centimeters of dead wood which they normally avoid. On the opposite side of the trunk a thin narrow layer of rind and bast remains intact, the fallen tree often hanging by this layer. Sometimes such feeding transforms thick shoots of young trees into a control line: the stakes pointed up by the hares protrude from the ground, the stakes being several dozens of centimeters high, and the gnawed around trunks hang down from them resting against the ground.

The new method evidently brings advantages. The hares capable of felling small trees will stand better chances for of survival as they get access to high horizons of stand. In Central Yakutia willows and birches of 3 to 4 centimeters in diameter can grow up four meters high. By felling such a tree, the hare gets about half a kilogram of thin twigs and nearly the same amount of rind and bast, i. e. a hare’s daily ration.

In 1988 the Yakutsk researchers first came across such a peculiar way of getting
food. Such cases have not been described in published materials, but the scientists believe that this is not due to novelty of the method but because it is extremely rare. The hares are engaged in felling the trees only in case of extraordinary lack of food. Otherwise, the researchers have to assume that the Alpine hare population in Yakutia has given birth and accumulated the hares possessing a new tactics for obtaining food. Should the new tactics be consolidated, that will provide absolutely new opportunities for the species survival in extreme conditions and for developing new territories.

For additional information: +7 (411-2) 445-690; Fax: + 7 (411-2) 445-812; +7 (411-2) 241-290 or aepsh@mail.ru; lena-nord@sterh.sakha.com

Natalia Reznik | Informnauka
Further information:
http://www.informnauka.ru/eng/2003/2003-01-28-02_304_e.htm

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

nachricht On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A Map of the Cell’s Power Station

18.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Engineering team images tiny quasicrystals as they form

18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers printed graphene-like materials with inkjet

18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>