Procedure for Fecal Cuticle Analysis of Herbivore Diets

E. J. Stevens, Susan J. Stevens, R. N. Gates, K. M. Eskridge, S. S. Waller
1987 Journal of range management  
Cuticuiu imprints of underlying plant tissue which survive ruminant digestion in herbivore feces provide x reliable taxonomic bais for species identi5ation provided they an be 8dequ8tely prepared for microhistologic~ m8iysis. Objectives of this resenrch were to iovestig8te the discernibility of alfalfa (Mcclieoso s&vu L.) cuticle in sheep feces 8nd document 8 procedure for fecei cuticle uulydr. A completely r8adom design with 4repiiations was used with a spilt-plot arrangement of treatments.
more » ... t of treatments. Diet treatments were applied to whole-plots and feal preparation techniques were applied to subplots. Mature wethers were fed diets containing 2550, or 75% prebloom alfalfa hay with vegetative indiangrass [Sorgktrum nutuus (L.) Nash] hey. A lea1 cuticle procedure was described which established a linear relationship between dietary and fecal eifalfa contents. Under conditions where species characterixed by fragile cuticle (such as uifaifa) are part of the dietary httahe and diet is low in woody species, cuticle procedures may represent an alternative method for dietary composition analysis. An epidermai preparetory technique used in conjunction with feal cuticle procedures did not establish a linear relxtionship between dietary end feai alfalfa contents.
doi:10.2307/3899218 fatcat:ztopbfvftzbf7nlutee5xp7rwi