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1 June 2015 Seasonal Variation in Composition of Key Largo Woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) Diets
Jennifer M. Kanine, Steven B. Castleberry, Michael T. Mengak, Christopher Winchester
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Abstract

Neotoma floridana smalli (Key Largo Woodrat) is currently at high risk of extinction from anthropogenic disturbances, including loss and degradation of habitat and non-native predators. Habitat degradation may affect food-resource availability, yet food habits are poorly understood. Therefore, we examined seasonal diets of Key Largo Woodrats using microhistological analysis of fecal samples. We collected fecal material from captured individuals between January 2005 and February 2006 and identified food items to the lowest possible taxon. We classified food items as leaves, fruit, and insects to examine differences in diets between seasons (wet versus dry) and sexes. Fruit and leaves made up a greater percentage of Key Largo Woodrat diets during the wet and dry seasons, respectively, likely reflecting higher fruit availability during the wet season. Across seasons, diets of males had a higher percentage of fruit and insects, but a lower percentage of leaves than females. Greater fruit consumption by males, which may be related to their higher motility, was contrary to our expectations that females would consume more fruit to meet the nutritional demands of reproduction. Although fruit and leaves are both important components of Key Largo Woodrat diets, consumption varies seasonally likely in response to differences in availability.

Jennifer M. Kanine, Steven B. Castleberry, Michael T. Mengak, and Christopher Winchester "Seasonal Variation in Composition of Key Largo Woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli) Diets," Southeastern Naturalist 14(2), 405-414, (1 June 2015). https://doi.org/10.1656/058.014.0220
Published: 1 June 2015
JOURNAL ARTICLE
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