Food preferences and seed selection in two species of Australian desert rodent

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Wildlife Research, 1994, 21 (6), pp. 647 - 655
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Food preferences of two species of Australian desert rodents, the spinifex hopping-mouse (Notomys alexis) and the sandy inland mouse (Pseudomys hermannsburgensis), were investigated in cafeteria trials. Both species showed strong preference for invertebrate material (a beetle, Tenebrio molitor) over the seeds and stems of spinifex (Triodia basedowii), and fungus (Tulostoma sp.). This contrasts with previous reports that these rodents are granivores, and suggests instead that they may be omnivorous. Further investigation of the basis for food choice was carried out in a series of seed preference trials, and provided some indication that the water content of food items may underlie diet selection. We suggest that the ability of native rodents to eat a broad range of food types, particularly invertebrates, has promoted survival in arid regions that have been subjected to disturbance since European settlement. © 1994, CSIRO. All rights reserved.
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