Phylogenetic analysis of stomach adaptation in digestive strategies in African ruminants

Pérez-Barbería, F. Javier, Gordon, Iain J., and Illius, Andrew W. (2001) Phylogenetic analysis of stomach adaptation in digestive strategies in African ruminants. Oecologia, 129 (4). pp. 498-508.

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The stomach morphology of 28 species of artiodactyls that differ in feeding style (browser, mixed feeder, grazer) was analysed using a multivariate approach and phylogenetic correction in order to test whether stomach morphology was correlated with feeding style when body mass was controlled for. A total of 25 morphological traits of the stomach were used in the analysis. After the effects of body mass and phylogeny on stomach morphology were taken into account, there was no significant grouping of species according to feeding style. When information about the feeding style of each species was included in the analysis, the set of morphological traits separated the mixed feeders from the other two feeding styles, but grazers and browsers had similar morphological features. Most of the variance in stomach morphology was explained by body mass and a lesser proportion by phylogeny. The main morphological features that have previously been proposed as being adaptations in grazing species, namely, lengthening of the retention time of ingesta to achieve an increase in their fibre digestion capability by means of a larger relative stomach capacity, a greater subdivision of chambers and smaller openings, are not supported by the findings of this study. Thus, there is no consistent evidence to support a significant adaptive effect of stomach morphology to different diets in the Artiodactyla.

Item ID: 42590
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1939
Keywords: allometry, body mass, comparative method, feeding styles, gut morphology
Funders: Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department, Training and Mobility of Researchers of the European Communities
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2016 07:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0603 Evolutionary Biology > 060305 Evolution of Developmental Systems @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960805 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity at Regional or Larger Scales @ 100%
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