Medullar type and cuticular scale patterns of hairs of rodents and small marsupials from the Monte scrubland (San Luis Province, Argentina)


Hair characteristics are often used to identify mammalian prey in guts, feces or pellets of predators when other more easily identifiable remains, such as bone fragments or teeth, are not available. Indeed, hair can provide qualitative data about prey species. By using guard hair cuticular scale patterns and medullar types, we built a key which enabled us to accurately identify nine of thirteen rodents and small marsupials found in San Luis Province (Argentina). Our results support the use of hairs to identify mammalian prey but emphasize that at least two criteria must be examined to accurately distinguish among species.