Arctic Fox (<i>Alopex lagopus</i>) Diet in Karupelv Valley, East Greenland, during a Summer with Low Lemming Density


  • Fredrik Dalerum
  • Anders Angerbjörn



Arctic fox, Alopex lagopus, diet, East Greenland, fecal analysis, lemming


We investigated the diet of arctic foxes (Alopex lagopus) in the Karupelv valley, East Greenland, during the summer of 1997. Despite a low density, lemmings were the most utilized prey, comprising 65.3% of dry fecal weight in fresh feces. This demonstrates the importance of lemming species as prey for arctic foxes all through a lemming cycle. Birds, arctic hare (Lepus arcticus), and insects also contributed to the diet. Arctic fox remains suggested that the foxes had scavenged their own species. Vegetation, muskoxen (Ovibos moschatus), and seal (Phocidae) were found in small amounts. We compared estimates of prey availability and diets of arctic foxes for a coastal area (<10 km from the shore) and an inland area (>10 km from the shore). Abundance of avian prey tended to be higher in the coastal area. Fresh feces indicated a significant overall difference in arctic fox diets between the coastal and inland areas. Within prey categories, lemmings were significantly more represented in the inland area, while the coastal area had a more diverse diet overall. We also suggest that the existence of arctic foxes in East Greenland is dependent on regular peak years in lemming density.