Mammalian Biology

, Volume 87, Issue 1, pp 176–184 | Cite as

Comparison of diet and prey selectivity of the Pyrenean desman and the Eurasian water shrew using next-generation sequencing methods

  • Marjorie BiffiEmail author
  • Pascal Laffaille
  • Jérémy Jabiol
  • Adrien André
  • François Gillet
  • Sylvain Lamothe
  • Johan R. Michaux
  • Laëtitia Buisson
Original investigation


In this study, the interactions between two semi-aquatic mammals, the endangered Pyrenean desman Galemys pyrenaicus and the Eurasian water shrew Neomysfodiens, were investigated through the analysis of their summer diet using next-generation sequencing methods, combined with analyses of prey selectivity and trophic overlap. The diet of these predators was highly diverse including 194 and 205 genera for G. pyrenaicus and N. fodiens respectively. Overall, both species exhibited rather non-selective foraging strategies as the most frequently consumed invertebrates were also the most frequent and abundant in the streams. This supported a generalist foraging behaviour for G. pyrenaicus and N. fodiens in the study area. The Pianka index (0.4) indicated a significant but moderate dietary overlap as G. pyrenaicus mostly relied on prey with aquatic stages whereas prey of N. fodiens were mainly terrestrial. Moreover, no difference in G. pyrenaicus prey consumption was found in presence or absence of N. fodiens. A differential use of trophic resources through mechanisms such as plastic feeding behaviour or differences in foraging micro-habitat are likely to facilitate the coexistence between these two mammal species.


COI Dietary overlap Foraging strategy Scat analyses Semi-aquatic mammal 



frequency of occurrence of invertebrate taxa in the predator diet (number of faeces containing the taxon divided by the total number of predator faeces)


frequency of occurrence of invertebrate taxa in the streams (number of Surber samples with the taxa divided by the total number of Surber samples collected in the study sites).


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde, e. V. DGS 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie Biffi
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pascal Laffaille
    • 1
  • Jérémy Jabiol
    • 1
  • Adrien André
    • 2
  • François Gillet
    • 2
  • Sylvain Lamothe
    • 1
  • Johan R. Michaux
    • 2
    • 3
  • Laëtitia Buisson
    • 1
  1. 1.EcoLabUniversité de Toulouse, CNRS, INPT, UPSToulouse cedex 9France
  2. 2.Laboratoire de Biologie Evolutive, Unité de Génétique de la ConservationLiègeBelgium
  3. 3.CIRAD, Agirs UnitMontpellier Cedex 5France

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