Keyi Tang

and 7 more

Diet analysis of potential small mammals pest species is important for understanding feeding ecology and evaluating their impact on crops and stored foods. Chinese mole shrew (Anourosorex squamipes), distributed in Southwest China, has previously been reported as a farmland pest. Effective population management of this species requires a better understanding of its diet, which can be difficult to determine with high taxonomic resolution using conventional microhistological methods. In this study, we used two DNA metabarcoding assays to identify 38 animal species and 65 plant genera from shrew stomach contents, which suggest that A. squamipes is an omnivorous generalist. Earthworms are the most prevalent (>90%) and abundant (>80%) food items in the diverse diet of A. squamipes. Species of the Fabaceae (frequency of occurrence [FO]: 88%; such as peanuts) and Poaceae (FO: 71%; such as rice) families were the most common plant foods identified in the diet of A. squamipes. Additionally, we found a seasonal decrease in the diversity and abundance of invertebrate foods from spring and summer to winter. Chinese mole shrew has a diverse and flexible diet throughout the year to adapt to seasonal variations in food availability, contributing to its survival even when food resources are limited. This study provides a higher resolution identification of the diet of A. squamipes than has been previously described and is valuable for understanding shrew feeding ecology as well as evaluating possible species impacts on crops.