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Extension of the diet of an extreme foraging specialist, the aardwolf (Proteles cristata)


de Vries, JL and Pirk, CWW and Bateman, PW and Cameron, EZ and Dalerum, F, Extension of the diet of an extreme foraging specialist, the aardwolf (Proteles cristata), African Zoology, 46, (1) pp. 194-196. ISSN 1562-7020 (2011) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2011, The Zoological Society of Southern Africa.

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DOI: doi:10.3377/004.046.0113


The aardwolf, Proteles cristata, is a highly specialized myrmecophagous carnivore that feeds almost exclusively on termites of the genus Trinervitermes. Here we report data from an ongoing analysis of aardwolf diet, where we documented remains of sun spiders and scorpions in aardwolf scats. Although the prevalence of these items was low, with sun spiders recorded in nine and scorpion remains in one of 246 scats, our observations suggest that aardwolves opportunistically feed on larger prey than previously thought. However, our observations do not suggest that aardwolves utilized these large prey items as alternatives to their main food resource during periods of food scarcity. Therefore, we suggest that the adaptive advantages of such opportunism may be small, but that the observed behavioural plasticity could be advantageous under specific environmental conditions and therefore is maintained as a behavioural trait.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal developmental and reproductive biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:70095
Year Published:2011
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-06-02
Last Modified:2017-11-15

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