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Volume 83, Issue 1


Feeding strategy of two rodent species in a set-aside field and its influence on alimentary tract morphometry

Marta Heroldova
  • Corresponding author
  • Institute of Forest Ecology, Mendel University in Brno, Zemědělská 3, Brno 613 00, Czech Republic
  • Institute of Vertebrate Biology Czech Academy of Sciences, Květná 8, 603 65 Brno, Czech Republic
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  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Eva Janova
  • Department of Animal Genetics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého 1, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Central European Institute of Technology, University of Veterinary and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Palackého 1, 612 00 Brno, Czech Republic
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2018-05-04 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2017-0106


We examined the feeding strategy of two dominant rodents, the common vole (Microtus arvalis) and the pygmy field mouse (Apodemus uralensis), in set-aside fields over a period of 1 year. Diet analysis revealed dominance of green plant shoots in common vole’s diet and seeds in the diet of the pygmy field mouse. Food availability in the set-aside fields was strongly correlated with the diet of the herbivorous common vole, but not with that of the granivorous pygmy-field mouse. Both feeding strategies reflect specific morphological adaptations of the digestive tract of both species. A comparison of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT; length and mass without oesophagus; including contents) of the common vole and pygmy field mouse revealed a correlation between body size and length and the GIT weight in both species. The common vole had a proportionally heavier GIT with a larger of the common vole and pygmy field mouse relative proportion of caecum. The GIT length was proportionally greater in juvenile females, while the GIT weight was greater in adult females of both species. The GIT morphometry of both species varied with season and reproductive status, presumably as food consumed altered in line with vegetation phenology and the rodent’s energy requirements.

Keywords: common vole; feeding strategy; gastrointestinal tract morphometry; pygmy-field mouse; set-aside


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About the article

Received: 2017-08-29

Accepted: 2018-03-29

Published Online: 2018-05-04

Published in Print: 2018-12-19

Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 83, Issue 1, Pages 34–40, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2017-0106.

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