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Diet selectivity in relation to food quality and availability by the endemic Perote squirrel (Xerospermophilus perotensis)
Laboratorio Biología de la Conducta, Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana.
Laboratorio Biología de la Conducta, Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana.
Linköping University, Department of Physics, Chemistry and Biology, Biology. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-5583-2697
Laboratorio Biología de la Conducta, Instituto de Neuroetología, Universidad Veracruzana.
2018 (English)In: Therya, ISSN 2007-3364, Vol. 9, no 2, p. 121-127Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Climatic fluctuations have a biogeochemical effect on food availability and quality, resulting in adjustments of the foraging and food selection behavior of animals. Our study aimed to evaluate the influence of seasonal variation on abundance of food resources and its effect on food selection of Xerospermophilus perotensis, an endemic species of ground squirrel in the Oriental Basin. Food selection behavior was recorded using focal animal and continuous behavior sampling on a squirrel population inhabiting the grassland of a semi-arid area. The results show that their diet consisted of 6 plant species with significant differences in the time spent feeding on each plant species (X2 = 128.96; P = 0.01). The species with the highest feeding times included Scleropogon brevifolius (63.6 %), Verbena bipinnatifida (10.6 %) and Erigeron pubescens (10.5 %). These plant species had the highest percentage of vegetation cover and availability among seasons, but they were of low nutritional quality with regard to their protein/fiber ratio. However, during specific periods, associated either with gestation and lactation or prior to hibernation, the squirrels increased their protein consumption. This suggests that squirrels are opportunistic feeders, and under certain conditions tend to select plant species that provide them with better quality diets.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Colonia Villa Quietud, Mexico: Asociacion Mexicana de Mastozoologia A.C. , 2018. Vol. 9, no 2, p. 121-127
Keywords [en]
Diet; endemism; ground squirrel; nutritional quality; seasonal variation
National Category
Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-148303DOI: 10.12933/therya-18-553OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-148303DiVA, id: diva2:1214547
Available from: 2018-06-07 Created: 2018-06-07 Last updated: 2018-06-13Bibliographically approved

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Laska, Matthias

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