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An Acad Bras Cienc. 2017 Jan-Mar;89(1):191-202. doi: 10.1590/0001-3765201720160445.

The partitioning of food resources between two rodents in the subtropical region of southern Brazil.

Author information

1
Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas/ICB, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande/FURG, Av. Itália Km 8, 96203-900 Rio Grande, RS, Brazil.
2
Laboratório de Ictiologia, Universidade Federal de Pelotas/UFPEL, Campus Universitário, s/n, 96160-000 Capão do Leão, RS, Brazil.

Abstract

The capybara (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris) and nutria (Myocastor coypus) are herbivorous semi-aquatic rodents. Although these rodents occur in sympatry in southern South America, little is known about how the two species interact in relationship to food resources. In this context, the aim of this study was to analyze the food resource overlap, the feeding strategy and the diversity of the diet of capybaras and nutria. A micro-histological analysis of feces was used to study the diets. A total of 48 plant species belonging to 10 families were identified in the diet of H. hydrochaeris, and a total of 49 species belonging to 14 families were identified in the diet of M. coypus. According to the Amundsen graphical method, both rodents adopted a specialized strategy for feeding on Poaceae and a generalized strategy for other families. The results of a multivariate analysis of the dietary data showed significant differences between the two rodent species and among the seasons. These differences between diets may be related to the different proportions of each food item eaten. However, the dietary overlap between the two rodents in the Taim wetland was high, suggesting that partitioning of other resources ensured the coexistence of the species.

PMID:
28423079
DOI:
10.1590/0001-3765201720160445
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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