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First results on the feeding ecology of the Transcaucasian water shrew Neomys teres (Soricomorpha: Soricidae) from Armenia

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Abstract:

Microscopic examination of alimentary tracts of 14 Neomys teres Miller, 1908 from a mountainous region in northern Armenia produced the first data on the diet of this almost unknown species of conservation concern. Twenty-three different prey types were distinguished in summer-caught shrews, all of which were invertebrates (14 terrestrial and 9 aquatic in origin). The dominant dietary items were Coleoptera and Diptera adults, Araneae, Opiliones, and Lumbricidae, as well as freshwater crustaceans and Trichoptera larvae. Prey ranged from<3 to>16mm in length, but those eaten most frequently were 6–10mm in length. Although N. teres was captured beside streams and rivers, aquatic prey comprised only 27% of the dietary composition. Despite the morphological similarity of N. teres to Neomys fodiens (Pennant, 1771), its foraging niche more closely resembles that of upland populations of Neomys anomalus Cabrera, 1907 and its reliance on aquatic habitats remains equivocal.

L’examen au microscope des tubes digestifs de 14 Neomys teres Miller, 1908 provenant d’une région montagneuse du nord de l’Arménie fournit les premières données sur le régime alimentaire de cette espèce presque inconnue dont la conservation est préoccupante. Vingt-trois types différents de proies, tous des invertébrés (14 d’origine terrestre et 9 d’origine aquatique), se reconnaissent chez les crossopes récoltées en été. Les proies dominantes sont des adultes de coléoptères et de diptères, des araignées, des opilions et des lumbricidés, de même que des crustacés d’eau douce et des larves de trichoptères. Les proies varient en longueur de <3 à >16 mm, mais celles qui sont le plus fréquemment ingérées ont 6–10 mm de longueur. Bien que les crossopes aient été capturées près de ruisseaux et de rivières, les proies aquatiques représentent seulement 27% de la composition de leur régime alimentaire. Malgré une ressemblance morphologique à Neomys fodiens (Pennant, 1771), la niche alimentaire de N. teres se rapproche plus de celle des populations de Neomys anomalus Cabrera, 1907 des terres hautes et sa dépendance des habitats aquatiques reste ambiguë.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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