Record Details

Talamoni, S. A.;Assis, M. A. C.
Feeding habit of the Brazilian tapir, Tapirus terrestris (Perissodactyla: Tapiridae) in a vegetation transition zone in south-eastern Brazil
Journal Article
Tapirs are considered generalist herbivores and the differences in the proportions of dietary items are often attributed to differences in the habitats where individuals live. This study characterized the feeding habit of Tapirus terrestris (Linnaeus, 1758) in a nature reserve in south-eastern Brazil, located in a region considered a transition zone between the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) and the Atlantic Forest biomes. Fecal samples from T terrestris individuals were collected monthly at six sampling areas that encompassed a total of 242.22 ha. There were 147 fresh samples found (77 during the dry season and 70 during the wet season). The diet of the tapirs in this reserve was characterized by the prevalent browsing on leaves and stems. There was a low frequency of fruit seeds in the diet of the tapirs during both the wet and dry seasons. However, in the dry season a higher percentage of samples containing seeds was observed. Fruits of Rubiaceae, Solanaceae, and Annonaceae were most consumed during the dry season. Most of the fruit seeds found presented small mean diameter (3.7-8.4 mm) and most of the fruits were capsules and dry fruits. The characteristics of the fruits consumed by the tapirs indicate that they forage in the lower forest stratum and upon species from Cerrado. Additionally, Psidium myrtoides O. Berg. clusters found in the study site suggest that the tapirs may be acting as dispersal agents of this species.
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