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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


LOPEZ-CORTES, FRANCISCO; CORTES, ARTURO; MIRANDA, EDUARDO  and  RAU, JAIME R. Feeding habits of Abrothrix andinus, Phyllotis xanthopygus (Rodentia) and Lepus europaeus (Lagomorpha) in an Andean environment of Chile. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2007, vol.80, n.1, pp.3-12. ISSN 0716-078X.

The native rodents Abrothrix andinus, Phyllotis xanthopygus and the introduced lagomorph Lepus europaeus coexist in the highlands of north-central Chile, where food availability is scarce. We hypothesized that in these environments, the studied species would behave as generalist herbivores and where the diet of native rodents would overlap that of hares greatly. The aim of this study was to quantify feeding habits, amplitude, diet preferences and overlap of these three species through microhistological analysis of fresh faeces. While all three species behaved as herbivore-folivores, L. europaeus showed the largest niche breath. Abrothrix andinus selected all consumed items, while P. xanthopygus and L. europaeus exhibited a more opportunistic consumption food items. The highest diet overlap was observed between native rodents

Keywords : high altitude Andean environment; diet; hares; native rodents; dietary selection; dietary overlap.

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