Main food categories in diets of Sigmodontine rodents in the Monte (Argentina)

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The present study aims at improving the characterization of the dietary status of four Sigmodontine rodents (Graomys griseoflavus, Akodon molinae, Calomys musculinus
and Eligmodontia typus) by quantifying the major food categories (leaves, stems, seeds, Prosopis flexuosa pods, and arthopods) with a modified microhistological technique. The use of this new technique enhances the likelihood of accurately identifying plant parts, such as stems, seeds and fruits that are usually underestimated. Results reveal that hard tissues, like seeds, are a major resource in the diets while other hard tissues, such as stems and P. flexuosa pods, appear for the first time in the diet of all four species of Sigmodontine rodents. Rodent species display considerable trophic flexibility that may be particularly advantageous in arid environments where resource availability is unpredictable and heterogeneous.