Revista chilena de historia natural
versión impresa ISSN 0716-078X
SOMBRA, MOIRA S. y MANGIONE, ANTONIO M.. Obsessed with grasses?: The case of mara Dolichotis patagonum(Caviidae: Rodentia). Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2005, vol.78, n.3, pp. 393-399. ISSN 0716-078X. doi: 10.4067/S0716-078X2005000300004.
The diet of mara (Dolichotis patagonum, Zimmeraman 1780) within the limits of Sierra de las Quijadas National Park (San Luis, Argentina) is described. Other studies regarding maras diet showed that mara, feeds on different species of grasses and shrubs. However, there is controversy regarding the proportions of these items in the diet or whether this proportion varies seasonally. Considering maras body size, anatomical features and physiology, we suggest that mara feeds on grasses in a greater proportion than shrubs and forbs. Moreover, giving that in this region precipitation varies considerably between seasons; it is also expected to find a correlation between the diet of mara and seasons. Fecal pellets of mara were collected during four periods including two dry, and two wet seasons. Relative frequency of each item in scats was determined by microhistological analysis. Results support the hypothesis that mara shows preference for grasses, despite they are less available than shrubs and forbs and that this preference remains constant through seasons regardless of the precipitation regime. The characteristics of maras diet and the ecological implications of these findings are discussed
Palabras clave : Dolichotis patagonum; diet; grasses; preference; Sierra de las Quijadas.