• Food Resource Partitioning by Sympatric Ungulates on Great Basin Rangeland

      Hanley, T. A.; Hanley, K. A. (Society for Range Management, 1982-03-01)
      The usefulness of a conceptual framework for understanding food selection by ungulates, based on four morphological parameters (body size, type of digestive system, rumino-reticular volume to body weight ratio, and mouth size), was tested by applying discriminant analysis to 194 monthly diet determinations based on microhistological fecal analysis for five sympatric species of ungulates in northeastern California and northwestern Nevada. In each season, the group means were located in the hypothesized order along the axis described by the first discriminant function: feral horse, domestic cow, domestic sheep, pronghorn, mule deer. Horse and cow diets consisted primarily of grasses. Pronghorn and mule deer diets consisted primarily of browse. Sheep diets were intermediate. Four browses (Artemisia spp., Cercocarpus ledifolius, Purshia tridentata, and Juniperus occidentalis) were selected as the most useful species for discriminating between animal species. The data and analyses support the hypothesized food selection framework.