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Ecological factors affecting the foraging behaviour of Xerus rutilus

Fanson, Benjamin G., Fanson, Kerry V. and Brown, Joel S. 2010, Ecological factors affecting the foraging behaviour of Xerus rutilus, African zoology, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 265-272, doi: 10.3377/004.045.0205.

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Title Ecological factors affecting the foraging behaviour of Xerus rutilus
Author(s) Fanson, Benjamin G.
Fanson, Kerry V.ORCID iD for Fanson, Kerry V. orcid.org/0000-0001-9372-2018
Brown, Joel S.
Journal name African zoology
Volume number 45
Issue number 2
Start page 265
End page 272
Total pages 8
Publisher Universiteit Stellenbosch, Department of Botany and Zoology
Place of publication Stellenbosch, South Africa
Publication date 2010-10
ISSN 1562-7020
2224-073X
Keyword(s) foraging behaviour
GUDs
Xerus rutilus
koppie
Summary The African unstriped ground squirrel (Xerus rutilus) is widely dispersed across various habitats in East Africa and hence encounters a diverse suite of predators and plant communities. It is not known how different habitats and plant characteristics affect the foraging behaviour of X. rutilus. We used giving-up densities (GUDs) as a measure of foraging efficiency to explore the foraging costs of environmental heterogeneity. To determine foraging efficiency across spatial scales, we established food patches in two microhabitats (open and cover), which were nested within three habitats (koppie, edge and bushland). When foraging in a cover microhabitat, foraging efficiency decreased away from the koppie, but when in the open microhabitat, foraging efficiency was lowest near the koppie edge. Second, to determine foraging efficiency with common plant toxins, we presented the squirrels with seeds soaked in either tannic acid, oxalic acid or distilled water (control). Foraging efficiency did not differ between tannic-treated and control seeds, but oxalic-treated seeds had higher GUDs. Overall, our results suggest that X. rutilus is a remarkably efficient forager across multiple axes of environmental heterogeneity, which may have intriguing consequences for the ecological community.
Language eng
DOI 10.3377/004.045.0205
Field of Research 060201 Behavioural Ecology
060604 Comparative Physiology
060806 Animal Physiological Ecology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2010, Universiteit Stellenbosch, Department of Botany and Zoology
Free to Read? Yes
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30047792

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.