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DNA metabarcoding provides insights into seasonal diet variations in Chinese mole shrew (Anourosorex squamipes) with potential implications for evaluating crop impacts
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  • Keyi Tang,
  • Fei Xie,
  • Hongyi Liu,
  • Dan Chen,
  • Boxin Qin,
  • Changkun Fu,
  • Qiong Wang,
  • Shunde Chen
Keyi Tang
Sichuan Normal University
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Fei Xie
Sichuan Normal University
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Hongyi Liu
Nanjing Forestry University
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Dan Chen
Sichuan Normal University
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Boxin Qin
Sichuan Normal University
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Changkun Fu
Sichuan Normal University
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Qiong Wang
Sichuan Normal University
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Shunde Chen
Sichuan Normal University
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Abstract

Diet analysis of potential small mammals pest species is important for understanding feeding ecology and evaluating their impact on crops and stored foods. Chinese mole shrew (Anourosorex squamipes), distributed in Southwest China, has previously been reported as a farmland pest. Effective population management of this species requires a better understanding of its diet, which can be difficult to determine with high taxonomic resolution using conventional microhistological methods. In this study, we used two DNA metabarcoding assays to identify 38 animal species and 65 plant genera from shrew stomach contents, which suggest that A. squamipes is an omnivorous generalist. Earthworms are the most prevalent (>90%) and abundant (>80%) food items in the diverse diet of A. squamipes. Species of the Fabaceae (frequency of occurrence [FO]: 88%; such as peanuts) and Poaceae (FO: 71%; such as rice) families were the most common plant foods identified in the diet of A. squamipes. Additionally, we found a seasonal decrease in the diversity and abundance of invertebrate foods from spring and summer to winter. Chinese mole shrew has a diverse and flexible diet throughout the year to adapt to seasonal variations in food availability, contributing to its survival even when food resources are limited. This study provides a higher resolution identification of the diet of A. squamipes than has been previously described and is valuable for understanding shrew feeding ecology as well as evaluating possible species impacts on crops.

Peer review status:IN REVISION

16 Jul 2020Submitted to Ecology and Evolution
17 Jul 2020Assigned to Editor
17 Jul 2020Submission Checks Completed
20 Jul 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
26 Aug 2020Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Aug 2020Editorial Decision: Revise Minor