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Body condition and ruminal morphology responses of free-ranging impala (Aepyceros melampus) to changes in diet


Lane, Emily P; Clauss, Marcus; Kock, Nancy D; Hill, F W Graham; Majok, Aggrey A; Kotze, Antoinette; Codron, Daryl (2014). Body condition and ruminal morphology responses of free-ranging impala (Aepyceros melampus) to changes in diet. European Journal of Wildlife Research, 60(4):599-612.

Abstract

Variation of the intraruminal papillation pattern with diet quality has been described in many ruminant species, but the use of papillation measures as a proxy for habitat quality and nutritional status of animals has not been evaluated. We compared various measures of body condition (body mass, body condition score, kidney fat index, bone marrow fat index, adrenal mass, kidney to adrenal mass ratio), diet quality (%browse, protein and fibre content) and rumen papillation in 106 impalas (Aepyceros melampus) from four different locations in Zimbabwe. The various condition proxies indicated that periods of low diet quality are characterised by a high proportion of browse in the diet of this species. Animals with a high proportion of browse had more voluminous rumens, suggesting a compensation for lower diet quality by increased intake. Macroscopic papillation indices did not yield meaningful significant correlations with diet quality or body condition proxies, and hence, their use for estimating habitat or body condition cannot be advocated. In contrast to previous histological reports, ballooning cells of the Stratum corneum of the ruminal mucosa were more prominent in animals on lowerquality diets. There were significant correlations of the kidney to adrenal mass ratio with other body conditions and with diet quality indices, suggesting that poor body condition and low diet quality represent stressful situations.

Abstract

Variation of the intraruminal papillation pattern with diet quality has been described in many ruminant species, but the use of papillation measures as a proxy for habitat quality and nutritional status of animals has not been evaluated. We compared various measures of body condition (body mass, body condition score, kidney fat index, bone marrow fat index, adrenal mass, kidney to adrenal mass ratio), diet quality (%browse, protein and fibre content) and rumen papillation in 106 impalas (Aepyceros melampus) from four different locations in Zimbabwe. The various condition proxies indicated that periods of low diet quality are characterised by a high proportion of browse in the diet of this species. Animals with a high proportion of browse had more voluminous rumens, suggesting a compensation for lower diet quality by increased intake. Macroscopic papillation indices did not yield meaningful significant correlations with diet quality or body condition proxies, and hence, their use for estimating habitat or body condition cannot be advocated. In contrast to previous histological reports, ballooning cells of the Stratum corneum of the ruminal mucosa were more prominent in animals on lowerquality diets. There were significant correlations of the kidney to adrenal mass ratio with other body conditions and with diet quality indices, suggesting that poor body condition and low diet quality represent stressful situations.

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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:2014
Deposited On:06 Aug 2014 11:19
Last Modified:14 Feb 2018 21:24
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:1612-4642
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s10344-014-0824-1

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