1 Tahrcountry Musings: Carnivores and the relevance of food quality

Friday, November 18, 2011

Carnivores and the relevance of food quality

Is food quality important for carnivores? The case of Puma concolor

Gómez-Ortiz, Yurianna Monroy-Vilchis, Octavio,Fajardo, Víctor, Mendoza, Germán DUrios, Vicente

Animal Biology, Volume 61, Number 3, 2011 , pp. 277-288(12)

Here an attempt is made to assess the importance of food quality for carnivores. The researchers analyzed the composition and energetic content of puma (Puma concolor) diet in Sierra Nanchititla Natural Reserve (SNNR), Mexico. They collected 183 scats, where 27 components were identified by occurrence (88.07% mammals).

The major composition of puma's diet was armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus, 40.33%), white-nosed coati (Nasua narica, 11.93%) and white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus, 6.17%).

Energetic analysis of prey indicated that the puma shows a preference for diet with higher energetic content (kcal/kg). The prey with the most energetic content is armadillo (2398.70 kcal/kg). Next came white-nosed coati (2225.25 kcal/kg) followed by white-tailed deer (2165.52 kcal/kg).

The researchers say the differences in energetic content between prey species were statistically significant. The number of individuals’ killed/year on average to support a puma was 51 armadillos, 16 white-tailed deer and 7 white-nosed coatis.

 The results clearly indicate a preference by Pumas for prey that provides more kilocalories and it has management implications.

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