Diet Selection publications

















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Diet Selection and Digestion in Herbivorous Lizards

Unlike carnivorous animals, generalist herbivores confront a food resource that is unpredictable from both nutritional and toxic perspectives. To understand the relevance of nutrients and plant toxins in diet selection, we tested three leading models: single-nutrient maximization, toxin avoidance, and nutrient wisdom. We studied populations of the herbivorous Bonaire whiptail lizard, Cnemidophorus murinus, in three different plant communities and found that although plant species included in diets differed across sites, annual intake of nutrients did not; lizards selected nutritionally similar diets from different sets of plants. Surprisingly, no one nutrient or toxin of 13 measured could be used to predict diet selection. Instead, suites of nutritional and toxic properties were important in determining preference and these suites were site specific.