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Food Analysis of Indian Gerbil (Tatera indica, Hardwicke, 1807) in Pothwar, Pakistan

Food Analysis of Indian Gerbil (Tatera indica, Hardwicke, 1807) in Pothwar, Pakistan

Amber Khalid1*, Amjad Rashid Kayani1, Muhammad Sajid Nadeem1, Muhammad Mushtaq1, Mirza Azhar Beg1 and Surrya Khanam2

1Department of Zoology, Pir Mehr Ali Shah, Arid Agriculture University, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
2Department of Zoology, Women University Swabi.
 
* Corresponding author: amberkhalid96@gmail.com

ABSTRACT

Indian gerbil (Tatera indica) belongs to family Muridae, is considered an important agricultural pest and causes damage to the crops in Pakistan including Pothwar. Information about the diet of the rodents is prerequisite for the better management of pest species. Previous studies conducted on the diet of Indian gerbil were only based on field observations. This study provides information on the diet analysis of Indian gerbil through stomach contents. Samples were collected from different localities of Pothwar during different seasons. Stomachs were separated during autopsy. Slides from stomach contents were prepared and were compared with reference slides. Relative frequency of every food item observed in the stomach was calculated as percentages. The results showed that Indian gerbil predominately consumed plant matter in its diet (74.5%) along with animal matter (25.5%). Among plant matter, Triticum aestivum (wheat) was the major consumed item followed by Brassica campestris (mustard) and Arachis hypogaea (peanut). Sorghum bicolor (millet) and Vigna radiata (mong bean) was also consumed in small proportions. Pearson chi-square was used to calculate the significance difference among every food item and among seasons. Significant difference (p<0.05) was observed among consumption of different food items and among different seasons. Non- significant difference (p>0.05) was calculated between consumption of different food items in male and female rats. It is concluded that Indian gerbil damaged the cash crops of Pothwar. Therefore, preventive measures should be taken as part of integrated pest control program.

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Pakistan Journal of Zoology

June

Pakistan J. Zool., Vol. 56, Iss. 3, pp. 1001-1500

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