BIO 203



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Reproduction is an ever critical part of survival. The artic fox will tend to have several factors influencing its reproduction, such as mate availability, weather, and others with the main factor being availability of food. The arctic fox is an opportunist carnivore, meaning that it will tend to take advantages of what food it has in its environment at a given time. Alopex lagopus has two types of feeding strategies that it will employ based on its environment and the conditions involved. A generalist strategy of having a weak preference in prey choice will be used when a lot of various food sources are available to the animal, while a specialist strategy with a strong prey choice is found in areas with less food opportunities. The specialist strategy can often restrict the diet of the animal, while a generalist will move on if a food source is declining. The diet of the arctic fox will vary depending on where it lives. If it lives near a coast it will have a much greater variety in its diet, while the foxes living on the inland will have much greater restrictions on their diet in times of low rodent density, and therefore more of an impact on number of litters. The artic fox has a diet that consists mainly of lemmings (Elmhagen, et al 2000). Fox density will tend greatly to be based on the density of the vole and lemming populations. This means that the fox’s primary food source will impact trends in how they mate. “The importance of rodents is exemplified by the correlation between the number of artic foxes and number of lemmings” (Angerbjorn, et al 1991). The number of occupied dens is greatly dependent on the amount of food in the habitat (Elmhagen, et al 2000; Angerbjorn, et al 1991). When there is a high abundance of food, den occupation is higher with more reproduction attempts and therefore a higher number of litters produced. Reproduction varies greatly depending on the environment, with population trends occurring on average every four years. Food availability can play a large role in this trend, as well as sibling competition, occasional siblicide, and rarely parent abandonment (Angerbjorn, et al 1991).

Alopex lagopus reproduces sexually. Parents will tend to be monogamous and may have a non-breeding female living in the den to help with the pups (Cameron, et al 2011).

Check out some cool facts about the arctic fox!

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