Observations on the feeding habits of the Indian crested porcupine ( Hystrix indica) and the distribution of some hemicryptophytes and geophytes in the Negev desert highlands.

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41 Scopus citations

Abstract

More than 17 geophytes and hemicryptophytes are consumed by porcupines or inhabit porcupine diggings during the year. By consuming subterranean bulbs and leaves, diggings are created, sometimes as many as 2 or 3/m2. Under desert conditions each digging accumulates organic matter, seeds and runoff water. In the flat areas covered with loess it is possble for a digging to remain for > 5 yr. The plants which show the greatest interaction between porcupine activity and their own survival mechanisms are 4 species of geophytes and hemicryptophytes. Of these, porcupines consume only part of the plant - the undamaged part renews itself and develops later in conditions improved by the digging. There are four other groups: a) Three species were totally consumed, and the porcupine digging became a suitable microhabitat for germination for at least 2 of them. Another 10 species of plants were: b) either consumed, and inhabit diggings, c) possibly not eaten by porcupines but inhabit diggings, d) consumed from time to time, but not found in diggings. -Author

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume5
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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