Gray, S.S.,Simpson, T.R.,Baccus, J.T.,Manning, R.W.&Schwertner, T.W. 2007: Seasonal diet and foraging preference of greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros in the Llano Uplift of Texas. - Wildl. Biol. 13: 75-83.
The greater kudu Tragelaphus strepsiceros, a large African herbivore, occupies the browser trophic niche. This species has been introduced into selected areas of Texas inhabited by the white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus, a native browser. Based on similar trophic function, potential interspecific competition could exist between these two species. The objectives of our study were to: 1) describe the seasonal diets of greater kudu in Texas and 2) determine if greater kudu show preference for plants that might create competition with white-tailed deer. We documented the seasonal diet and forage preference of greater kudu at Mason Mountain Wildlife Management Area from 15 May 2001 to 25 February 2002 by identifying epidermal fragments of plants in faecal pellets. We identified and quantified 49 species of plants eaten by greater kudu. Annually, browse made up 80.2% of the diet, while 7.6% mast, 6.5% grasses, 3% forbs and 2.7% unidentified material comprised the remaining parts of their diet. Important browse species included Texas/blackjack oak Quercus buckleyi/Q. marilandica, plateau live oak Q. fusiformis, Ashe juniper Juniperus ashei, mesquite Prosopis glandulosa, prickly pear Opuntia sp., flameleaf sumac Rhus lanceolata, and Texas persimmon Diospyros texana. We measured availability of forage plants by quadrat and line intercept methods concurrent with faecal pellet collection. We compared plant use (dietary composition) with plant availability and assessed forage preference by greater kudu using log-likelihood ?2-tests with Bonferroni corrected confidence intervals and Manly's alpha indices. We detected statistically significant differences between plant use and availability (P < 0.05). Purple horsemint Monarda citriodora, Canada wildrye Elymus canadensis, mesquite, flameleaf sumac, Texas/blackjack oak and Ashe juniper were preferred species. Relative preference of general forage categories by greater kudu in Texas was similar to that reported from Africa. Based on our findings, greater kudu could compete with white-tailed deer for browse forage.
Key words: diet, food habits, greater kudu, Texas, Tragelaphus strepsiceros
Shawn S. Gray*, Thomas R. Simpson, John T. Baccus & Richard W. Manning, Texas State University-San Marcos, Department of Biology, Wildlife Ecology Program, San Marcos, Texas 78666, USA - e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org (Shawn S. Gray); R_Simpson@txstate.edu (Thomas R. Simpson); email@example.com (John T. Baccus); RManning7@Austin.rr.com (Richard W. Manning)
T. Wayne Schwertner, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, PO Box 1620, Mason, Texas 76856, USA - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Present address: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 2003 W. 6th Street, Fort Stockton, Texas 79735, USA
Corresponding Author: T. Wayne Schwertner
Received 30 July 2005, accepted 20 October 2005
Associate Editor: Johan T. du Toit