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Preliminary observations suggest Common Myna prefer lipid over protein and carbohydrate foods in a pairwise choice experiment

S. Thobeka Gumede


Common Mynas Sturnus tristis, previously known as Acridotheres tristis, are considered among the world’s worst most invasive species. However, relatively little is known about the factors that affect their persistence and spread in new environments. They have been observed feeding on a wide range of foods, including anthropogenic foods in urban areas. Their diet preferences are relatively unknown. Therefore, we investigated the macronutrient preferences of Common Mynas in captivity. Common Mynas (n = 10) were given a pairwise choice of three different diets (high lipid, high protein, and high carbohydrate diets) in the laboratory to determine their preference. Common Mynas showed a preference for the high lipid food, followed by high protein, with the high carbohydrate food least preferred. Consequently, this suggests Common Mynas preferred food high in lipids compared with proteins and carbohydrates, but additional study is needed to confirm this. Implications are Common Mynas should not be a problem for South African agricultural areas, because this industry generally provides relatively few dietary items high in fat, so we expect the Common Myna will continue to be distributed mainly in urban areas of South Africa where anthropogenic foods relatively high in fat are more common.

Keywords: alien invasive, dietary preference, macronutrients, urban exploiters

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eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525