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Title: Differences in swimming and diving abilities between two sympatric species of water shrews: Neomys anomalus and Neomys fodiens (Soricidae)
Authors: Mendes-Soares, Helena
Rychlik, Leszek
Keywords: Foraging behaviour
Interspecific competition
Microhabitat selection
Underwater foraging
Water shrews
Issue Date: 2009
Citation: Journal of Ethology vol. 27 (3), 2009, pp. 317-325.
Abstract: Swimming and diving abilities of two syntopic species of water shrews, Neomys anomalus and N. fodiens, were tested in aquaria using video-recordings taken from three views (lateral distant, lateral close and dorsal). The frequency and total duration of diving, as well as the mean duration of diving and floating bouts, were significantly higher in N. fodiens than in N. anomalus. Frequency of paddling during surface swimming was lower in N. fodiens than in N. anomalus. N. fodiens dived mainly for long distances at the bottom of the aquarium and performed a wider range of dive profiles than N. anomalus, which preferred rather short and shallow dives. The two species differed also significantly in their Fineness Ratios (describing how streamlined their bodies are) when diving. When swimming, N. fodiens had a relatively wider body and performed narrower movements with its tail than N. anomalus. These results show quantitatively and qualitatively for the first time that N. fodiens is more proficient at swimming and diving than N. anomalus. The results also help to explain the interspecific differences in efficiency of underwater foraging, and support the idea of segregation of ecological niches of these species based on their different foraging modes (diving vs wading).
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