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Food Habits and Dietary Overlap of Two Heteromyid Rodents from the Mesquite Plains of Texas

Thomas M. Alcoze, Earl G. Zimmerman
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1379084 900-908 First published online: 14 December 1973

Abstract

Winter and spring diets of Perognathus hispidus and Dipodomys ordii were analyzed and compared to food availability at three collecting sites in the mesquite-grasslands of west-central Texas. Important winter foods of P. hispidus were Prosopis juliflora, Helianthus annuus, Mammalaria sp., Artemisia ludoviciana, and Opuntia lindheimeri. Spring foods of P. hispidus included Prosopis juliflora, Gaillardia pulchella, Opuntia lindheimeri, carabid beetles, and Andropogon hallii. Insects made up 13.9 per cent of the spring diet. Major foods were selected for in amounts greater than expected on the basis of availability. Important winter foods of D. ordii were unidentified dry stems, Paspalum stramineum, and Prosopis juliflora. Insects made up 8.0 per cent of the winter diet. Major components of the spring diet of D. ordii were Andropogon hallii, Ambrosia artemisifolia, Prosopis juliflora, and Gaillardia pulchella; insects and other arthropods made up 18.3 per cent of the spring diet. Few foods in the winter and spring diets of D. ordii were selected for. Both species of rodents exhibited little seasonal variation in food habits. The dietary overlap was significant for both species for winter months, but spring diets were dissimilar. The significance of dietary overlap and degree of competition in P. hispidus and D. ordii is discussed.

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