Subterranean sympatry : an investigation into diet using stable isotope analysis

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dc.contributor.author Robb, Gillian N.
dc.contributor.author Woodborne, Stephan M.
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2012-11-29T10:39:23Z
dc.date.available 2012-11-29T10:39:23Z
dc.date.issued 2012-11-05
dc.description.abstract In the Western Cape three species of mole-rat occur in sympatry, however, little is known about differences in their dietary preferences. Dietary composition of the three species; the common mole-rat (Cryptomys hottentotus hottentotus), the Cape mole-rat (Georychus capensis) and the Cape dune mole-rat (Bathyergus suillus) were examined using stable isotope analysis. Blood, fur and claw samples were collected from 70 mole-rats, in addition to several potential food items, to assess food selection of the three species under natural conditions. Overall there was a significant difference in the isotopic composition (d13C and d15N) between all three species and significant differences in their diet composition. There were also significant differences between tissues in all three species suggesting temporal variation in diet. The small size and colonial lifestyle of C. h. hottentotus allows it to feed almost 100% on bulbs, while the solitary and larger species G. capensis and B. suillus fed to a greater extent on other resources such as grasses and clover. B. suillus, the largest of the species, had the most generalized diet. However, overall all species relied most heavily upon geophytes and consumed the same species suggesting competition for resources could exist. We also showed a high level of individual variation in diet choices. This was most pronounced in B. suillus and G. capensis and less so in C. h. hottentotus. We demonstrate that stable isotope analysis can successfully be applied to examine dietary patterns in subterranean mammals and provide insights into foraging patterns and dietary variation at both the inter and intra population level. en
dc.description.librarian ab2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship G. Robb was funded by a University of Pretoria Post-doctoral fellowship. N. Bennett and fieldwork costs were funded through the Department of Science and Technology and National Research Foundation SARChI Chair of Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology. en
dc.description.uri http://www.plosone.org en
dc.identifier.citation Robb GN, Woodborne S, Bennett NC (2012) Subterranean Sympatry: An Investigation into Diet Using Stable Isotope Analysis. PLoS ONE 7(11): e48572. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0048572. en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.other 10.1371/journal.pone.0048572
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/20594
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en
dc.rights © 2012 Robb et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License en
dc.subject Diet en
dc.subject Stable isotope analysis en
dc.subject Subterranean mammals en
dc.subject.lcsh Bathyergidae en
dc.subject.lcsh Underground areas en
dc.subject.lcsh Bathyergidae -- Food en
dc.title Subterranean sympatry : an investigation into diet using stable isotope analysis en
dc.type Article en


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