Oscar Gustavo Retana Guiascón, Daniel Antonio Cuenca Villamonte, Adriana Bastar Sierra, Jesús Vargas Soriano


Background: The Ocellated Turkey is a priority species because of its endemic status and being a strategic resource for local communities. An assessment of the state of its populations in the Yucatan Peninsula between 1980 and 2000 reports that the abundance decline is correlated with its weak dispersion capacity, habitat degradation, and availability of food resources. However, detailed information on its habitat requirements and trophic ecology is still very limited. Therefore, qualitative and quantitative information on the food resources consumed by M. ocellata is essential for the implementation of management strategies aimed at promoting the conservation of the species. Objective: In an agroforestry territory managed under the Mexican scheme of Units for Wildlife Conservation (UMA), the composition and structure of the Ocellated Turkey male diet were determined. Methodology: The study site corresponds to UMA Las Flores, Campeche, Mexico. It is a communally owned agroforestry territory run by Mennonite colonies whose primary economic activities are soybean, sorghum, and maize agriculture. It has an area of 9600 ha, four thousand are farmlands and the rest of forest cover. The taxonomic composition of the male diet was evaluated analyzing food content present in the upper digestive tract (crop and gizzard) of 72 samples of male birds hunted during the breeding season (January to April 2019). The Relative Importance Index was estimated to quantitatively assess the importance of each food component and the Levins Index assessed the degree of specialization in the diet. Results: According to the frequency of occurrence and abundance of the food components, we found that the male Ocellated Turkey presented a generalist and opportunistic feeding strategy; the stomach contents consisted of resources from the field crops, whose dietary composition was granivorous. Diet composition was based on the consumption of 39 vegetables belonging to 20 families of 12 orders. Of the six established food categories, the seeds registered the highest value with 94.49% of the total dry weight, being corn, sorghum, and a wild specie belonging to the Convolvulaceae family the most significant resources in the diet. Implications: Our results help to determine the importance of agroforestry systems to meet food requirements and evaluate the trophic dynamics of the Ocellated Turkey, as well as the plasticity of the species to use food resources in different scenarios in space and time throughout its distribution range. Conclusion: Information on the composition and abundance of food resources consumed by M. ocellata males in an agroforestry system managed under UMA's Mexican scheme is important for understanding and redefining habitat requirements and trophic niche amplitude, to implement management strategies that promote the increase of their wild populations and sustainable hunting.


Diet; endemic species; Meleagrinidae; trophic niche; Yucatan Peninsula

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