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Retention of fluid and particles in captive tapirs (Tapirus sp.)


Clauss, Marcus; Lang-Deuerling, S; Müller, D W H; Kienzle, E; Steuer, P; Hummel, J (2010). Retention of fluid and particles in captive tapirs (Tapirus sp.). Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology - Part A: Molecular and Integrative Physiology, 157(1):95-101.

Abstract

The retention of ingesta in the digestive tract is a major characteristic of herbivorous animals. We measured particle and fluid mean retention times (MRT) in 13 lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) and 5 Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) from five zoological institutions on their usual zoo diet and 2 lowland and 4 Malayan tapirs additionally on roughage-only diets (total n of trials = 24) with cobalt-EDTA as fluid and chromium-mordanted fibre (<2mm) as particle markers. MRT for fluid and particles averaged 42 ± 16 h and 55 ± 18 h in lowland and 40 ± 13 h and 56 ± 14 h in Malayan tapirs. In a General Linerar Model, neither Tapir species, body mass nor diet (characteriszed by the proportion of roughage) was significantly related to MRT, but dry matter intake was, with a steep decline in MRT with higher intake levels. Compared to other hindgut fermenters, tapirs have a low defecation frequency, which might be linked to their comparatively low food intake. Their gastrointestinal capacity (in dry matter: 1.63 ± 0.63 % of body mass) is similar to that calculated for horses. A comparison of the difference in fluid and particle MRT in large hindgut fermenters (horses, rhinoceroses, elephants, and the tapirs of this study) show that longer absolute particle MRT are linked to shorter relative fluid MRT, possibly indicating a more thorough ‘washing’ of particulate ingesta with digestive fluids at longer particle MRT. The only outlier to this general pattern, with an exceptionally high difference between fluid and particle MRT, indicating a particularly efficient ingesta washing, is the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). If possible, results of this study should be compared to findings in tapirs on natural diets.

The retention of ingesta in the digestive tract is a major characteristic of herbivorous animals. We measured particle and fluid mean retention times (MRT) in 13 lowland tapirs (Tapirus terrestris) and 5 Malayan tapirs (Tapirus indicus) from five zoological institutions on their usual zoo diet and 2 lowland and 4 Malayan tapirs additionally on roughage-only diets (total n of trials = 24) with cobalt-EDTA as fluid and chromium-mordanted fibre (<2mm) as particle markers. MRT for fluid and particles averaged 42 ± 16 h and 55 ± 18 h in lowland and 40 ± 13 h and 56 ± 14 h in Malayan tapirs. In a General Linerar Model, neither Tapir species, body mass nor diet (characteriszed by the proportion of roughage) was significantly related to MRT, but dry matter intake was, with a steep decline in MRT with higher intake levels. Compared to other hindgut fermenters, tapirs have a low defecation frequency, which might be linked to their comparatively low food intake. Their gastrointestinal capacity (in dry matter: 1.63 ± 0.63 % of body mass) is similar to that calculated for horses. A comparison of the difference in fluid and particle MRT in large hindgut fermenters (horses, rhinoceroses, elephants, and the tapirs of this study) show that longer absolute particle MRT are linked to shorter relative fluid MRT, possibly indicating a more thorough ‘washing’ of particulate ingesta with digestive fluids at longer particle MRT. The only outlier to this general pattern, with an exceptionally high difference between fluid and particle MRT, indicating a particularly efficient ingesta washing, is the white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum). If possible, results of this study should be compared to findings in tapirs on natural diets.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Veterinary Clinic > Department of Small Animals
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
630 Agriculture
Language:English
Date:September 2010
Deposited On:14 Jul 2010 19:02
Last Modified:08 Sep 2016 07:43
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:1095-6433
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cbpa.2010.03.029
Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-34736

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