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The Comparative Population Dynamics of Browsing and Grazing Ungulates

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Part of the Ecological Studies book series (ECOLSTUD,volume 195)

Among African ruminants a clear dietary distinction exists between grazers, feeding predominantly on grasses and sedges (graminoids) year-round, and browsers consuming mostly the leaves and shoots of woody plants as well as herbaceous dicots (or forbs) and fruits (Owen-Smith 1992, 1997). Even so-called mixed feeders can be divided between a subset obtaining the greater proportion of their diet from grasses year-round (mainly grazers, e.g., Thomson’s gazelle (Gazella thomsoni), and mainly browsers dependent largely on woody and herbaceous dicots, especially during the dry season (e.g., Grant’s gazelle Gazella granti). Just two species seem firmly intermediate, switching between consuming mostly grass in the wet season, and a predominance of browse during the dry season: impala (Aepyceros melampus) and nyala (Tragelaphus angasi). The grazerbrowser distinction is replicated among the African rhinos, with the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum) being exclusively a grazer and the black rhino (Diceros bicornis) almost entirely a browser (Owen-Smith 1988). All extant zebras (Equus spp.) are exclusively grazers.

Keywords

  • Home Range
  • North Pacific Oscillation
  • African Savanna
  • Population Crash
  • Ungulate Population

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Owen-Smith, N. (2008). The Comparative Population Dynamics of Browsing and Grazing Ungulates. In: Gordon, I.J., Prins, H.H.T. (eds) The Ecology of Browsing and Grazing. Ecological Studies, vol 195. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-540-72422-3_6

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