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Observations on the length of the intestinal tract of African Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797) and Asian elephants Elephas maximus (Linne 1735)


Clauss, Marcus; Steinmetz, H W; Eulenberger, U; Ossent, P; Zingg, R; Hummel, J; Hatt, J M (2007). Observations on the length of the intestinal tract of African Loxodonta africana (Blumenbach 1797) and Asian elephants Elephas maximus (Linne 1735). European Journal of Wildlife Research, 53(1):68-72.

Abstract

The digestive tract of elephants is surprisingly short compared to other herbivorous mammals. However, measurements relating the length of the intestine to the body mass of the respective individual are rare. In this study, we report such data for an African elephant and an Asian elephant. Our data support the hypothesis that Asian elephants have a longer intestinal tract than their African counterparts. These findings are in accord with the observation of longer retention times and higher digestion coefficients in Asian as compared to African elephants. This difference between the species could be the reflection of slightly different ecological niches, with Asian elephants adapted to a natural diet with a higher proportion of grass.

The digestive tract of elephants is surprisingly short compared to other herbivorous mammals. However, measurements relating the length of the intestine to the body mass of the respective individual are rare. In this study, we report such data for an African elephant and an Asian elephant. Our data support the hypothesis that Asian elephants have a longer intestinal tract than their African counterparts. These findings are in accord with the observation of longer retention times and higher digestion coefficients in Asian as compared to African elephants. This difference between the species could be the reflection of slightly different ecological niches, with Asian elephants adapted to a natural diet with a higher proportion of grass.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Veterinary Pathology
05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:28 Apr 2008 14:55
Last Modified:07 Sep 2016 08:42
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1439-0574
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10344-006-0064-0
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-2398

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