that few mammals eat aroid leaves due to calcium oxalate crystals (likened to
eating a handful of tiny needles) or various chemical defenses (see http://www.ivis.org/advances/Beasley/cpt13c/ivis.pdf
In the paper:
Dung, V.V. et
al. 1994. Discovery and conservation of the Vu Quang ox in Vietnam. Oryx 28:16,
the saola is reported browsing on figs and other riparian shrubs.
I am curious as
to what aroid was observed with “bite marks”, and whether they were bite marks
actually from this animal.
D. Christopher Rogers
166 Buckeye Street
Woodland CA 95695 USA
● Invertebrate Taxonomy
● Invertebrate Ecological Studies
● Bioassessment and Study Design
● Endangered Invertebrate Species
● Periphyton/ Phytoplankton
Moscow, ID ● Bozeman, MT ● Woodland, CA ● Neosho, MO ●
firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent: Friday, December 15, 2006
To: Discussion of aroids
Subject: [Aroid-l] The Saola and
This is a distraction from our usual
fare, but I saw an interesting article on the little-known saola, an exotic
bovine. The current Science magazine (December 1 cover date) contains a picture
and written reference of an unidentified Araceae, which the rare animal is
believed to eat. The saola, also known as the Vu Quang ox, is the last new
large animal to have been discovered. It was unknown to science before 1992.
Although they say it is related to the cow, it looks more like an antelope. The
few remaining individuals live in Vietnam and Laos. The article contains some
interesting information on the animal and its bleak prospects, but nothing
about the aroid save the following:
"The forest ecologist finds
safe footing on the slick slope and grabs a handful of broad, dark-green
Araceae leaves. 'Saola like to eat these," [Do] Tuoc says. 'At least, we
have seen bite marks.'"
There is a photograph of Mr. Tuoc
holding some nondescript taro-like plants in each hand (fibrous roots, perhaps
30 cm petiole height).
The saola diet is unknown, save for
the hints that it might like tucking into a luscious aroid. Much of the
remainder of the article is a discussion, pro and con, of the idea of attempting
to clone the beast in an attempt to preserve it.
Anyone having a liking for extremely
rare animals can e-mail me separately and I will send them a pirated scan of
the article. I don't think anyone will mind this violation of copyright as long
as we don't sell copies.