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Diet of the extinct Lava mouse Malpaisomys insularis from the Canary Islands: Insights from dental microwear

AuthorsFirmat, C.; Gomes Rodrigues, H.; Hutterer, Rainer; Rando, J. Carlos; Alcover, Josep Antoni ; Michaux, Jacques J.
Issue Date2011
CitationNaturwissenschaften 98: 33- 37 (2011)
AbstractMalpaisomys insularis is a mouse-like rodent endemic to the eastern Canary Islands. It became extinct during the fourteenth century. It was a remarkable species living under hyperarid conditions. A dental microwear analysis was performed in order to determine its former diet. The elevated number of fine scratches found in Malpaisomys molars suggests that it consumed a significant part of Poaceae, grass consumption leaving the most distinctive features on dental wear facets. A graminivorous diet with a high amount of abrasive items is in agreement with the broad teeth of Malpaisomys, considered as adapted to grass consumption. However, in the absence of potential competitors over its native range, it is likely that Malpaisomys also foraged on dicots to meet higher nutrient and energetic requirements. The ecology of Malpaisomys is discussed from these results in the context of the desertic climatic conditions of the eastern Canary Islands and with a special concern on its small body size in contrast to other large-sized island murine species such as the giant rats of the central Canary Islands. © 2010 Springer-Verlag.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1007/s00114-010-0738-z
issn: 0028-1042
Appears in Collections:(IMEDEA) Artículos
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