Allometry and ecology of feeding behavior and digestive capacity in herbivores: A review

  • Van Soest P
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Abstract

The purpose of this review is to give some perspective of the factors that influence feeding behaviors and the ability of herbivores to adapt to diets. The most important of these are digestibility, ability to select feed, and achievement of a nutritionally adequate intake. Plant morphology, observed feeding behavior, body size, and gut architecture and size impinge upon these factors. Feeding behavior and dietary specializations are associated with adaptations of gut and mouth parts as well as body size. Parallel and overlapping behaviors occur among herbivores and particularly between ruminants and nonruminants. The conventional classifications of grazers, browsers, and selective feeders are blurred by these evolutionary developments.

Author-supplied keywords

  • digestion
  • feeding behavior
  • herbivores

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Authors

  • Peter J. Van Soest

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