Title

Water in the Diet of the Great Basin Pocket Mouse

Presenter Information

Robin Skewis

Document Type

Oral Presentation

Location

SURC 137B

Start Date

21-5-2015

End Date

21-5-2015

Keywords

Water, Diet, Arid Organisms

Abstract

The Great Basin pocket mouse (Perognathus parvus) is an inhabitant of arid regions that can obtain all its water needs from food sources (mainly seeds) instead of from drinking water. I tested the hypothesis that the Great Basin pocket mouse prefers seeds with higher water content. I compared preferences of a captive pocket mouse for different seed types with varying water content as well as dried seeds versus pre-moistened seeds. Six different dried seed types were tested in two groups of similar sized seeds: Millet, Milo, Flax (Group 1, small seeds); and Sunflower, Wheat, and Cracked Corn (Group 2, large seeds). Each group was offered to the pocket mouse twice a day for two weeks. Among the smaller dry seeds, the pocket mouse preferred millet over milo, and did not select any flaxseed. Among the larger seeds, the pocket mouse preferred wheat, which was the seed type with the highest water content. In a second experiment, a control (dry) seed mixture (equal parts of all six seed types) and an experimentally moistened group (same seed mixture) were offered to the pocket mouse. The pocket mouse preferred dried seeds over pre-moistened seeds. These results suggest that the pocket mouse prefers dried seeds over rehydrated seeds. The dry seeds preferred by the mouse had 8 to 12 percent water (by weight), and may have provided some water through metabolic breakdown of lipids.

Faculty Mentor(s)

Kristina Ernest

Department/Program

Biological Sciences

Additional Mentoring Department

Biological Sciences

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May 21st, 3:00 PM May 21st, 3:20 PM

Water in the Diet of the Great Basin Pocket Mouse

SURC 137B

The Great Basin pocket mouse (Perognathus parvus) is an inhabitant of arid regions that can obtain all its water needs from food sources (mainly seeds) instead of from drinking water. I tested the hypothesis that the Great Basin pocket mouse prefers seeds with higher water content. I compared preferences of a captive pocket mouse for different seed types with varying water content as well as dried seeds versus pre-moistened seeds. Six different dried seed types were tested in two groups of similar sized seeds: Millet, Milo, Flax (Group 1, small seeds); and Sunflower, Wheat, and Cracked Corn (Group 2, large seeds). Each group was offered to the pocket mouse twice a day for two weeks. Among the smaller dry seeds, the pocket mouse preferred millet over milo, and did not select any flaxseed. Among the larger seeds, the pocket mouse preferred wheat, which was the seed type with the highest water content. In a second experiment, a control (dry) seed mixture (equal parts of all six seed types) and an experimentally moistened group (same seed mixture) were offered to the pocket mouse. The pocket mouse preferred dried seeds over pre-moistened seeds. These results suggest that the pocket mouse prefers dried seeds over rehydrated seeds. The dry seeds preferred by the mouse had 8 to 12 percent water (by weight), and may have provided some water through metabolic breakdown of lipids.