Alimentary habits are critical to the ecology of all animals. They reflect resource availability and are correlated with important life history traits such as reproductive output and body size. We analyzed the diet of the previously unstudied Mexican mud turtle Kinosternon integrum at Tonatico, Estado de México, during 2003 and 2004. Analysis was conducted separately by sex and age (immature vs. adults) and seasons (rainy vs. dry). Gastric contents and fecal samples were used in combination for more complete results. Based on 57 samples (32 stomach flushes and 25 from feces), K. integrum is a generalist–opportunist in alimentary habits, feeding on 27 categories of food. Plant material, Coleoptera, Odonata, Diptera, and mixed animal matter were the most important components. Overall dietary diversity was similar between adults and juveniles and between the two sexes, but juveniles differed between seasons. In similarity analysis we found a shift in diet between seasons. Females shifted from being primarily carnivorous during the rainy season to being primarily herbivorous during the dry season, while males were carnivorous during both seasons. The data suggest that this turtle feeds opportunistically on available prey items rather than on a few preferred food items.
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Vol. 9 • No. 1