, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 102-112

Nutritional ecology and life history tactics in the bushpig (Potamochoerus porcus ): Development of an interactive model

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Summary

A study of the ecology of the bushpig (Potamochoerus porcus) showed that there were regional differences in relative investments made in reproduction and maintenance. Southern Cape populations had relatively low reproductive rates, but levels of energy storage and survival rates were high. The reverse applied to eastern Cape populations. The diets of the two populations differed, with a higher ratio of available production nutrients (NPK) to maintenance nutrients (C) in the eastern Cape. A life history model is developed which accommodates these regional differences by linking nutritional characteristics of the diet with metabolic turnover rates. According to this model, the rate of reproductive investment (number of viable young per unit of time) relative to somatic investment (energy storage, survival) is determined by the rate at which production nutrients (NPK) are procurable. For herbivorous animals this depends on the rate at which the nutrients are available to their food plants, which in turn is linked to soil fertility and thus to the geological parent material.