Skip to Main Content
Diet and food availability of the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus): implications for dispersal in a fragmented forestAuthor(s): Stephanie E. Trapp; Winston P. Smith; Elizabeth A. Flaherty
Source: Journal of Mammalogy
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
View PDF (414.0 KB)
DescriptionA history of timber harvest in West Virginia has reduced red spruce (Picea rubens) forests to < 10% of their historic range and resulted in considerable habitat fragmentation for wildlife species associated with these forests. The Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) has been described as a red spruce obligate subspecies that must traverse this fragmented landscape to disperse among remnant red spruce patches. Food availability in the forest matrix surrounding red spruce may be a limiting factor to successful dispersal of G. s. fuscus. We examined the diet of flying squirrels using stable isotope analysis and used vegetation surveys to determine the availability of diet items in the habitats encountered by G. s. fuscus in the matrix surrounding red spruce fragments. Stable isotope analysis suggested hypogeous fungi, epigeous fungi, and invertebrates contributed the most to the diet of G. s. fuscus, followed by lichen. Tree buds contributed the least in spring, and beechnuts contributed the least in fall. The vegetation surveys revealed that no habitat type had a greater availability of the diet items that contributed most to the assimilated diet of G. s. fuscus, suggesting that stand age and structure may be more important for diet-item availability than habitat type.
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, email@example.com if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationTrapp, Stephanie E.; Smith, Winston P.; Flaherty, Elizabeth A. 2017. Diet and food availability of the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus): implications for dispersal in a fragmented forest. Journal of Mammalogy. 98(6): 1688-1696. https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyx115.
Keywordsdiet, dispersal, fragmentation, Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus, Picea rubens, red spruce, stable isotope analysis, Virginia northern flying squirrel, West Virginia
- A habitat model for the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) in the central Appalachian Mountains
- Habitat characteristics of the endangered Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus) in the central Appalachian mountains
- Late winter home range and habitat use of the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus)
XML: View XML