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1 March 2006 Gastrointestinal Fermentation in Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina)
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The nutritional ecology and digestive physiology of salamanders in the Family Sirenidae remain poorly understood. Although the intestinal contents of these salamanders include herbivorous dietary items, the nutritional significance of such ingested matter is unknown. In this study, we examined gut contents, gastrointestinal structure, and microbial fermentation in wild-caught Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina). Ingested items included aquatic invertebrates, vascular plants, and algae. The guts of these amphibians were not as voluminous or morphologically specialized as in many herbivores, but the posterior intestine was enlarged and exhibited a distinct folding pattern and an ileocolonic valve that may help maintain a symbiotic microbial population. An active microbial fermentation was indicated by relatively high levels of short-chain fatty acids in the medial-posterior and posterior gut regions. This is the first account of gastrointestinal fermentation in the Family Sirenidae and only the second account in the Class Amphibia.

Gregory S. Pryor, Donovan P. German, and Karen A. Bjorndal "Gastrointestinal Fermentation in Greater Sirens (Siren lacertina)," Journal of Herpetology 40(1), (1 March 2006).
Accepted: 1 November 2005; Published: 1 March 2006

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