oa South African Journal of Wildlife Research - 24-month delayed open access - Diets and food preferences of two South African tortoises and

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 2410-7220
  • E-ISSN: 2410-8200



The diet and plant species preferences of two sympatric tortoises, the mountain tortoise and serrated tortoise , were studied in the northern Cape Province, South Africa. Owing to the difference in rainfall patterns during the two years of study, differing results were obtained between study periods and between tortoise species. During the dry year both tortoises used the vegetation in relation to its availability; grass was used extensively as were succulents. In the higher rainfall study period a greater variety of ephemerals was available. The mountain tortoise extended its use of available species but continued to use grass; this component disappeared completely from the diet of the serrated tortoise and they concentrated on herbs and succulents. Preference in both species is for succulents and species of the Fabaceae. also featured in both diets in both periods. It is suggested that the patterns shown reflect the climatic affinities of the two species.

Die dieet en plantspesievoorkeure van twee simpatriese skilpaaie, die bergskilpad en knoppiesdopskilpad , is in die Noord-Kaap, Suid-Afrika ondersoek. As gevolg van verskillende reënval patrone tydens die twee jaar van die studie was daar verskille tussen studieperiodes en skilpadspesies. Tydens die droë jaar was plantegroeibenutting volgens beskikbaarheid en is gras deur beide skilpaaie gebruik. Sukkulente plantspesies is ook verkies. Gedurende die natter periode was daar meer opslag en die bergskilpad het sy plantspesiebenutting uitgebrei, gras was egter nog steeds belangrik. Die knoppiesdopskilpad se dieet het egter heeltemal afgewyk van die vorige patroon; 'n wye verskeidenheid efemere is benut en gras het glad nie in die dieet voorgekom nie. Voorkeur by beide skilpadsoorte was vir sukkulente en spesies van die Fabaceae. het ook 'n duidelike voorkeur gehad in die dieet van beide skilpadsoorte in beide periodes. Dit word voorgestel dat die patrone wat in die studie openbaar word met die klimaatsafiniteite van die twee spesies verband hou.

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