High-throughput sequencing reveals dietary segregation in Malaysian babblers

Mansor, Mohammad Saiful and Rozali, Fasihah Zarifah and Davies, Sian and Nor, Shukor Md and Ramli, Rosli (2022) High-throughput sequencing reveals dietary segregation in Malaysian babblers. Current Zoology, 68 (4). pp. 381-390. ISSN 1674-5507, DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/cz/zoab074.

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The coexistence of numerous species within a community results from how those species use available resources. Babblers are one of the major groups of Malaysian insectivorous birds, which frequently forage in dense vegetation cover and have a high level of sympatry. Therefore, examining the diet, prey selection, and niche segregation of babblers can be challenging. In this study, we used high-throughput sequencing to investigate potential dietary overlap or segregation among 10 babbler species of the 4 genera of the family Pellorneidae and Timaliidae: Pellorneum, Malacopteron, Stachyris, and Cyanoderma in central peninsular Malaysia. We tested the hypothesis that trophically similar species may differ in resource use to avoid competitive exclusion. We identified 81 distinct arthropod taxa from fecal samples, belonging to 71 families representing 13 orders, which were predominantly from 16 dipteran, 13 lepidopteran, and 10 coleopteran families. Of all the prey taxa consumed, 45% were found to be distinct across the 10 babbler species, and <35% were shared simultaneously by >= 3 babbler species, indicating minimal dietary overlap. The black-throated babbler Stachyris nigricollis and moustached babbler Malacopteron magnirostre had the most generalist tendencies because they consumed a greater variety of prey taxa. Small dietary overlap values (Ojk) and a relatively wide range of food resources suggest that dietary segregation occurred among the studied babblers. The great diversity of prey consumed revealed the presence of dietary flexibility among the sympatric insectivorous birds, thus reducing any active dietary competition and facilitating the coexistence through niche partitioning.

Item Type: Article
Funders: Ministry of Education, Malaysia FRGS/1/2020/STG03/UKM/02/5
Uncontrolled Keywords: Coexistence; Dietary partitioning; Metabarcoding; Next-generation sequencing; Tropical insectivorous birds
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Institute of Biological Sciences
Depositing User: Ms. Juhaida Abd Rahim
Date Deposited: 15 Oct 2023 13:17
Last Modified: 15 Oct 2023 13:17
URI: http://eprints.um.edu.my/id/eprint/41512

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