CSIRO Publishing blank image blank image blank image blank imageBooksblank image blank image blank image blank imageJournalsblank image blank image blank image blank imageAbout Usblank image blank image blank image blank imageShopping Cartblank image blank image blank image You are here: Journals > Australian Journal of Zoology   
Australian Journal of Zoology
Journal Banner
  Evolutionary, Molecular and Comparative Zoology
blank image Search
blank image blank image
blank image
  Advanced Search

Journal Home
About the Journal
Editorial Board
Online Early
Current Issue
Just Accepted
All Issues
Special Issues
Sample Issue
For Authors
General Information
Notice to Authors
Submit Article
Open Access
For Referees
Referee Guidelines
Review an Article
Annual Referee Index
For Subscribers
Subscription Prices
Customer Service
Print Publication Dates

blue arrow e-Alerts
blank image
Subscribe to our Email Alert or RSS feeds for the latest journal papers.

red arrow Connect with us
blank image
facebook twitter youtube

red arrow Supplementary Series
blank image
All volumes of the Australian Journal of Zoology Supplementary Series are online and available to subscribers of Australian Journal of Zoology.


Article << Previous     |     Next >>   Contents Vol 42(6)

Nutritional-Value of Hypogeal Fungal Sporocarps for the Long-Nosed Potoroo (Potorous-Tridactylus), a Forest-Dwelling Mycophagous Marsupial

AW Claridge and SJ Cork

Australian Journal of Zoology 42(6) 701 - 710
Published: 1994


Although mycophagy (fungus-feeding) is widespread among small ground-dwelling mammals, there has been little evaluation of the nutritional benefits of this feeding habit. In Australia, some members of the Potoroidae (or rat-kangaroo family) consume large amounts of hypogeal fungi throughout the year. Hypogeal fungi appear to be of marginal nutritional quality for small mammals with simple stomachs but potoroos have an enlarged forestomach in which microbial fermentation takes place, and this may allow more effective utilisation of protected nitrogenous components and structural carbohydrates of fungi. In a feeding experiment, we evaluated the nutritional value of sporocarps of the hypogeal fungi Mesophellia glauca (Mg) and Rhizopogon luteolus (R1), for the long-nosed potoroo (Potorous tridacytlus). Although the concentration of nitrogen was high in both fungi, much of that nitrogen was in non-protein form or associated with cell walls and may be either of low nutritional value or protected from digestive enzymes. The concentration of cell-wall constituents (fibre) was high in both fungi, suggesting low availability of digestible energy. Despite these features, the digestibilities of dry matter (Mg 86%, Rl 80%), ingested nitrogen (Mg 72%, Rl 72%) and energy (kJ kg-1) (Mg 93%, Rl 76%) of both fungi were high. Consequently, P. tridactylus maintained positive nitrogen balance and high intakes of digestible and metabolisable energy. We conclude that the sporocarps of hypogeal fungi represent a nutritionally valuable food for rat-kangaroos and suggest that lack of a foregut-fermentation strategy in other similar-sized ground-dwelling mammals in the forests of south-eastern Australia explains why they use the hypogeal fungal resource to a lesser extent than do rat-kangaroos.

Full text doi:10.1071/ZO9940701

© CSIRO 1994

blank image
Subscriber Login

PDF (584 KB) $25
 Export Citation
Legal & Privacy | Contact Us | Help


© CSIRO 1996-2014