, Volume 65, Issue 1, pp 145–152

Mammalian predation on termites: tests with the burrowing mouse (Oxymycterus roberti) and its prey

  • Kent H. Redford
Original Papers

DOI: 10.1007/BF00384477

Cite this article as:
Redford, K.H. Oecologia (1984) 65: 145. doi:10.1007/BF00384477


A laboratory study of mammalian predation on termites was conducted using the burrowing mouse (Oxymycterus roberti) and eight species of central Brazilian termites. The results of preference trials demonstrate that Oxymycterus discriminate between termite species and that the eight prey species fall into three groups: least preferred, most-preferred and a group of intermediate preference.

Preferences of Oxymycterus are not explained by the size or the nutritional quality of the termite species. However, three measures of termite soldier-based defense do correlate highly with preference. Termite species with soldiers exhibiting a mechanical or mixed defense are greatly preferred by Oxymycterus over species with soldiers exhibiting a chemical based defense. This chemical defense by termites is effective in severely limiting predation by small mammals.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kent H. Redford
    • 1
  1. 1.Museum of Comparative ZoologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Florida State MuseumUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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