Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2334
Clauss, M; Besselmann, D; Schwarm, A; Ortmann, S; Hatt, J M (2007). Demonstrating coprophagy with passage markers? The example of the plains viscacha (Lagostomus maximus). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 147(2):453-9.
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Coprophagy, or the ingestion of a certain fraction of the faeces, is a well-known strategy of small herbivores. However, the question of whether a particular species actually uses this cryptic strategy or not is not easily answered experimentally. In this study we introduce the use of ingesta passage markers as a tool to verify coprophagy in species where individual observation might be difficult. In two captive adult plains viscachas (Lagostomus maximus), we demonstrate recurrent excretion peaks for both a fluid (cobald-EDTA) and a particle (chromium-mordanted fibre) marker, the most parsimonious explanation for which is faeces re-ingestion. In addition, a literature review of graphical presentations of passage marker excretion revealed such recurrent marker peaks in a large number of studies; however, these observations were rarely explicitly contributed to a coprophagic digestion strategy. The widespread use of semi-logarithmic plots or cumulative marker excretion curves in displaying passage studies makes recurrent marker excretion peaks less evident. We conclude that passage markers offer a comparatively easy way of assessing the incidence of coprophagy. Due to the reported absence of coprophagy in rabbits, a species well-known for using this strategy, on high-protein, low-fibre diets, it is recommended that investigations of the occurrence of coprophagy should be made with animals fed challenging, high-fibre diets.
|Item Type:||Journal Article, refereed, original work|
|Communities & Collections:||05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals > Clinic for Zoo Animals, Exotic Pets and Wildlife|
|DDC:||570 Life sciences; biology|
|Deposited On:||11 Apr 2008 13:49|
|Last Modified:||28 Nov 2013 01:02|
|Citations:||Web of Science®. Times cited: 6|
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