Animal Biology , Vol. 54, No. 1, pp. 45-56 (2004) Ó Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2004. Also available online - www.brill.nl Termitivore or detritivore? A quantitative investigation into the diet of the East African caecilian Boulengerula taitanus (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae) OLIVIER GABORIEAU and G. JOHN MEASEY Laboratoire d’Ecologie des Sols Tropicaux (UMR 137), Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, 32 Avenue Henri Varagnat, 93143 Bondy Cedex, France Abstract —Most caecilians are thought to be generalist predators of soil ecosystem engineers (earthworms, termites and ants), but it has been suggested that members of the East African genus Boulengerula are specialist predators. Surprisingly, in the only detailed study of diet of any Boulengerula , the authors speculated that B. taitanus is partly detritivorous,based on the large amount of organic matter found in the alimentary canal. Here we test the con icting hypotheses that B. taitanus is a termitivoreor detritivore,using the stomach and gut contents of 47 specimens collected in the Taita Hills, Kenya. Termites and earthworms contribute most signi cantly to diet by number and mass, respectively. These constitute the major dietary items, together with dipteran larvae and other soil macrofauna. Contents of the intestine are mostly soil and organic
Animal Biology – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2004
Keywords: TERMITES; SUBTERRANEAN PREDATORS; VERTEBRATES.; AFROCAECILIA TAITANUS; SOIL ECOSYSTEM ENGINEERS; PREDATION
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