Diet and sexual segregation of desert bighorn sheep (Ovis canadensis mexicana Merriam) in Sonora, Mexico

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Fernando Isaac Gastelum-Mendoza
Luis Antonio Tarango-Arámbula
Genaro Olmos-Oropeza
Jorge Palacio-Núñez
Diego Valdez-Zamudio
Roberto Noriega-Valdez

Keywords

diversity, fecal sample, similarity.

Resumen

Objective: To determine the diet of the desert bighorn sheep and to identify differences
in its composition between sexes during the reproductive and sexual segregation periods.
Design/methodology/approach: The study was carried in the UMA Rancho Noche
Buena, Hermosillo, Sonora. The microhistological technique and a cell catalog of plants
from the study area were used to identify plant species present in fecal samples of
bighorn sheep. The relative frequency, the Shannon-Weaver diversity index and the
Kulczynski similarity index were determined by sex and period (reproductive and
segregation)
Results: The diet of bighorn sheep included 40 species, being herbaceous (36.1 ±4.4
%) and grasses (26.8 ±8.9 %) the most common. The diet of males during the
segregation period was mainly composed of grasses (36.2%) and female diet by
herbaceous (30%) and grasses (29.8%). No differences were found in the diversity of
the diet of males and females in the segregation period (H '= 1.0) and in general, their diets were very similar (80%).
Limitations/implications: To collect a greater number of fecal samples by sex and
period (reproductive and segregation) and to analyze the nutritional content of plants
consumed by bighorn sheep.
Findings/conclusions: In this study, the sexual segregation exhibited by the bighorn
sheep in the Wildlife Management and Conservation Unit Rancho Noche Buena was not
due to food preferences.

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