Hiking around here in the Chihuahuan Desert I see prickly pear (usually Opuntia engelmannii) which have big chomps out of the spiny pads. I assume the eaters are Collared Peccary, which are common in the area. So my question: can I post pictures of the chomped cactus along with a comment asking for community info on how the heck Peccary avoid getting infections from cactus spines in their lips, gums, and tongues? Should I post it under Opuntia engelmannii or under Dicotyles tajacu?
Thanks for advice!
You can post two observations with the same location, photo, and date, but two different species – one representing the food (cactus) and one for the eater (peccaries!).
I would suggest posting it under Opuntia engelmannii and adding Dicotyles tajacu under an appropriate observation field. You might want to highlight in the comment section that the observation includes signs of feeding.
I’ve posted pics of Pileated Woodpecker boreholes that have made it to research grade in the past. If you can prove that the evidence strongly points towards a certain organism, you should be able to get it at least confirmed to some level by another expert.
Although it’s not feeding behavior, there are oodles of observations for American Beaver that just show the work of beavers, not the beaver itself (cut limbs and stumps, dams, etc.). For some bark-boring beetles, larval galleries are distinctive, and for leafmining insects as well.
In cases like this, I wish the annotation “Track” could apply more broadly - maybe “Sign” or “Spoor” would be better?
Agreed! Annotating a tree that has clearly been cut down by a beaver as “track” just doesn’t seem right. It is “sign”.
Thanks, all! I’ve decided to post the observation under Opuntia engelmannii with a comment about peccary and an observation field attached. I have not actually seen Collared Peccary chewing this exact cactus, and while the size and shape of the bite marks suggest a large animal I could be wrong. Equally, while domestic cattle, mule deer, and gemsbok1 do not seem to be documented eating Engelmann’s Prickly Pear, maybe it’s possible that they did in this case.
1Yes, gemsbok (Oryx gazella) were introduced into White Sands Missile Range, flourished, and have crossed the San Andres Mountains and spread into the Journada Del Muerto. Trail cams (https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/150051179) have caught gemsbok nearby (thanks, BC and Asombro Institute).
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