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Free Content The Dugong Diet: Mouth Sample Analysis

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Analysis of plant material from dugong mouths identified to species the major components of dugongs' diet from the Maza Wildlife Management Area (Papua New Guinea). Two hundred and seventy six dugongs were examined, and 102 of these had unmasticated to partially masticated plant material in their mouths when examined. The frequency with which each food type occurred in the 102 samples was algae 0.024; the mangrove Avicennia marina 0.003; and seagrasses (0.0973): Cymodocea rotundata 0.10. Cymodocea serrulata 0.01, Enhalus acoroides 0.06, Halodule pinifolia 0.05, Halodule uninervis (wide) 0.16, Halodule uninerivs (narrow) 0.03, Halophila decipiens 0.01, Halophila ovalis 0.24, Halophila spinulosa 0.03, Syringodium isoetifolium 0.03, and Thalassia hemprichii 0.25. Identification of the seagrass to species level permitted an examination of the data not possible with generic identifications. The type and abundance of seagrass species in the mouth samples may be related to the abundance, ecological distribution and energetic value of the seagrass species in the catch area.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: July 1, 1981

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