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Assessment of diet composition of free-ranging addax antelopes (Addaxnasomaculatus) by the combination of microhistological procedures and n-alkanes and long-chain alcohols as fecal markers

Seri, Hicham, Chammem, Mohsen, Silva, Severiano, Rodrigues, Miguel, Khorchani, Touhami, Ferreira, Luis
Canadian journal of zoology 2018 v.96 no.11 pp. 1284-1289
Addax nasomaculatus, Helianthemum, Stipagrostis, alcohols, alkanes, antelopes, diet, feces, foraging, grazing, herbaceous plants, herbivores, seasonal variation, spring, vegetation cover, wildlife management
Understanding herbivore foraging behaviour is crucial for adequate wildlife management decisions. This study assessed the diet composition of free-ranging addax antelope (Addax nasomaculatus (de Blainville, 1816)). Samples collected during the spring season were analyzed using microhistological procedures along with n-alkanes and long-chain alcohols as fecal markers. Twelve animals were monitored and fresh fecal samples were collected daily during a 7-day period. Diet composition estimates obtained by both methods were similar and indicate that Stipagrostis pungens (Desf.) De Winter was the main diet component followed by Fagonia glutinosa Delile, Helianthemum kahiricum Delile, and Hammada schmittiana (Pomel.) Botsch. Data showed that addax have mixed diets composed of perennial woody and herbaceous plant species depending on their availability. The four species most selected by the animals were also the most abundant species in terms of plant cover. In contrast, species that accounted for less than 5% of the plant cover were not present in the fecal samples. Results of this study represent a single grazing season, and for that reason, further studies are required to fully understand how the grazing behaviour of addax varies with seasonal changes in vegetation cover.