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1 April 2018 Seasonal Variations in the Diet and Food Selection of the Algerian Hedgehog Atelerix algirus
Chafika Mouhoub-Sayah, Hafsa Djoudad-Kadji, Florian Kletty, André Malan, Jean-Patrice Robin, Michel Saboureau, Caroline Habold
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Abstract

The Algerian hedgehog Atelerix algirus is an insectivorous species. However, the exact composition of its natural diet remains largely undetermined, especially in relation to seasonal variations in food availability. From March to November, we simultaneously analysed the composition of 180 hedgehog faecal samples and food availability in the Soumman Valley, Algeria to assess food selection in this species. The faeces contained 196 different prey species, of which 92% belonged to the class Insecta. The highest prey species diversity was found in the Coleoptera order (100 species recorded) and the highest species occurrence was found in Hymenoptera (65% of the prey items, mainly represented by the harvester ant Messor barbarus, a crop-ravaging species). This study shows that the Algerian hedgehog is mainly a generalist species with a diet that is strongly linked to food availability. However, seasonal variations were observed in prey selection, and a notable shift in food preference was observed during autumn. The exact nature of these changes in feeding behaviour remains to be investigated, notably in relation to changes in energy requirements of this species before hibernation, in terms of quantity and/or quality.

© Zoological Society of Southern Africa
Chafika Mouhoub-Sayah, Hafsa Djoudad-Kadji, Florian Kletty, André Malan, Jean-Patrice Robin, Michel Saboureau, and Caroline Habold "Seasonal Variations in the Diet and Food Selection of the Algerian Hedgehog Atelerix algirus," African Zoology 53(1), 1-10, (1 April 2018). https://doi.org/10.1080/15627020.2017.1419072
Received: 15 July 2016; Accepted: 15 December 2017; Published: 1 April 2018
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KEYWORDS
agricultural area
dietary preference
ecosystem
feeding behaviour
food niche
Insectivore
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