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Methane Output of Tortoises: Its Contribution to Energy Loss Related to Herbivore Body Mass
Soliva, Carla R.
- Journal Article
Rights / licenseCreative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported
An increase in body mass (M) is traditionally considered advantageous for herbivores in terms of digestive efficiency. However, recently increasing methane losses with increasing M were described in mammals. To test this pattern in non-mammal herbivores, we conducted feeding trails with 24 tortoises of various species (M range 0.52–180 kg) fed a diet of grass hay ad libitum and salad. Mean daily dry matter and gross energy intake measured over 30 consecutive days scaled to M0.75 (95%CI 0.64–0.87) and M0.77 (95%CI 0.66–0.88), respectively. Methane production was measured over two consecutive days in respiration chambers and scaled to M1.03 (95%CI 0.84–1.22). When expressed as energy loss per gross energy intake, methane losses scaled to 0.70 (95%CI 0.47–1.05) M0.29 (95%CI 0.14–0.45). This scaling overlaps in its confidence intervals to that calculated for nonruminant mammals 0.79 (95%CI 0.63–0.99) M0.15 (95%CI 0.09–0.20), but is lower than that for ruminants. The similarity between nonruminant mammals and tortoises suggest a common evolution of the gut fauna in ectotherms and endotherms, and that the increase in energetic losses due to methane production with increasing body mass is a general allometric principle in herbivores. These findings add evidence to the view that large body size itself does not necessarily convey a digestive advantage Show more
Journal / seriesPLoS ONE
Pages / Article No.
PublisherPublic Library of Science
Organisational unit03428 - Kreuzer, Michael
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