Diet of peccaries (Tayassu tajacu and T. pecari) in a dry forest of Venezuela


*Address for correspondence: Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Department of Zoology, South Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PS


The diets of Tayassu tajacu and T. pecari were assessed by means of direct observations, stomach content, and faecal analyses. The study was conducted in a dry forest located in the central Llanos region, Venezuela, where both species coexist. Peccaries were observed during one week of every month from August 1986 to May 1987. Fruits and seeds of Pithecellobium saman and Guazuma ulmifolia and roots and stems of Cissus rhombifolia comprised most of the diet of both peccary species. Proportions of these items differed significantly between species. There was no Acacia macracantha in stomachs nor in faeces of T. tajacu, but it was one of the most important items found in stomachs of T. pecari. Leaves appeared in all stomachs but in very low proportions (<1%). Insect pupae and larvae were found in small quantities. Results suggest that peccaries behave as frugivores and seed predators as most seed remains appeared cracked. Differences in the diet and behavioural traits described elsewhere may allow these similar species to coexist in the tropical dry forest of central Venezuela.