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31 January 2019 Vertebrate Scavenger Species Composition on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts and Implications for Nicrophorus americanus Olivier (American Burying Beetle) Reintroduction
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Abstract

We surveyed scavenger species on Nantucket Island, MA, using motion-activated wildlife cameras baited with carcasses of either a Mus musculus domesticus (House Mouse) or Colinus virginianus (Bobwhite Quail) in the summer of 2016. We aimed to identify vertebrate scavenger species, measure how long carcasses remained available, and examine differences in carrion consumption between grassland and shrubland vegetation types. This information is important for management decisions concerning a reintroduced population of a federally endangered obligate scavenger, Nicrophorus americanus (American Burying Beetle), on Nantucket Island. Carcasses were removed or consumed within 2.7 ± 1.8 d, and vertebrates removed the carcass in 74% of trials. Carcasses persisted for similar lengths of time between the 2 vegetation types, but avian scavengers were significantly more common on Bobwhite Quail carcasses in grassland, and mammalian scavengers were significantly more common on House Mouse carcasses in shrubland habitats. Avian species appear to be significant competitors for carrion appropriate for American Burying Beetle reproduction.

Andrew Mckenna-Foster, Danielle O'Dell, Elisabeth Sorrows, Jacqueline Laurenzano, and Lou Perrotti "Vertebrate Scavenger Species Composition on Nantucket Island, Massachusetts and Implications for Nicrophorus americanus Olivier (American Burying Beetle) Reintroduction," Northeastern Naturalist 26(1), 52-62, (31 January 2019). https://doi.org/10.1656/045.026.0106
Published: 31 January 2019
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