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Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 83 (2): 309-319, 2010
Relationships between photosynthetic plant types in the diet of herbivore mammals and in the environment in the lower Paraná river basin,Argentina
In the present study we assess the contribution of C3, C4 and intermediate C3-C4 plant species to the diet of both native (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris, Rhea americana and Logostomus maximus) and introduced (cattle) herbivore species and the abundance of these photosynthetic plant types in different environments of the lower section of the Paraná Basin, Argentina, with similar climate but different hydrological regimes. Data of current plants species and their photosynthetic pathways, both form vegetation and the diet, were compiled from literature. The analysis of annual diets conducted in terms of photosynthetic types showed that the feeding patterns of native as well introduced herbivores varied both spatially and temporally. At each site, the analysis of vegetation and the diet of herbivores in spring indicated that the feeding patterns may depend not only on vegetation availability, but also on the preferences of herbivores and inter-specific interactions under limited resource conditions. These attributes should be taken into account when interpreting the diet of fossil herbivores from isotopic carbon information. Also, the studies on photosynthetic groups enhance our understanding of the relationship between paleodiets and paleoenvironments.
Key words:
herbivory, Neotropical ecology, photosynthetic plants types

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