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Ecología austral

On-line version ISSN 1667-782X


BONINO, Never  and  BORRELLI, Laura. Seasonal variation in the diet of the European wild rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in the Andean region of Neuquén, Argentina. Ecol. austral [online]. 2006, vol.16, n.1, pp.7-13. ISSN 1667-782X.

Botanical composition and seasonal variation of the diet of European wild rabbit were determined. The study was carried out in the Andean region of Neuquén province, Argentina, where fresh samples from at least 15 individuals were collected at every season; the samples were analyzed individually using a microhistological method. Grasses represented the main basis of the diet at all seasons of the year; Poa pratensis and Festuca pallescens were the most consumed species. Graminoids were the second most important group, with Juncus balticus and Carex gayana as major nutritional items. Forbs had moderate participation in the spring and summer diets whereas shrubs and arboreal species were relatively important in the winter diet only. According to our results, the rabbit proved to be a mainly grazing herbivore and the "mallines" (wet meadows) were the main feeding areas, although the use of space varied according to the seasons of the year.

Keywords : Exotic species; Microhistological analysis; Patagonia; Trophic diversity.

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