Many herbivorous, granivorous and frugivorous rodents can integrate animal proteins in their diet, still for many of them no information is available on the importance of animal food sources. The crested porcupine, Hystrix cristata, is considered a strictly vegetarian rodent. It may integrate animal proteins through bone-gnawing, while the importance of insects in his diet is poorly known. In this study we assessed the presence of insects in the diet of this rodent in Central Italy by collecting 141 faecal samples along transects in 2016-2020. Hypogeal plant organs were the main component of the diet (absolute frequency = 50.38%; volume = 60.13%). Insects were detected only in 6.8% samples, only in February-March, at the annual birth peak for the crested porcupine. Insect consumption, although occasional, could be linked to the nutritional requirements of this rodent during lactation.

Seasonal consumption of insects by the crested porcupine in Central Italy / E. Mori, M.D. Gregorio, G. Mazza, G.F. Ficetola. - In: MAMMALIA. - ISSN 0025-1461. - 85:3(2021 May), pp. 231-235. [10.1515/mammalia-2020-0131]

Seasonal consumption of insects by the crested porcupine in Central Italy

Ficetola G. F.
2021-05

Abstract

Many herbivorous, granivorous and frugivorous rodents can integrate animal proteins in their diet, still for many of them no information is available on the importance of animal food sources. The crested porcupine, Hystrix cristata, is considered a strictly vegetarian rodent. It may integrate animal proteins through bone-gnawing, while the importance of insects in his diet is poorly known. In this study we assessed the presence of insects in the diet of this rodent in Central Italy by collecting 141 faecal samples along transects in 2016-2020. Hypogeal plant organs were the main component of the diet (absolute frequency = 50.38%; volume = 60.13%). Insects were detected only in 6.8% samples, only in February-March, at the annual birth peak for the crested porcupine. Insect consumption, although occasional, could be linked to the nutritional requirements of this rodent during lactation.
Entomophagy; Hystrix cristata; Lactation; Nutritional requirements
Settore BIO/05 - Zoologia
MAMMALIA
Article (author)
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/2434/857199
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