Optimizing Omnivory: Quantifying Digestive Efficiency in Response to Different Diets in the Day Gecko, Phelsuma grandis

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Conference Proceeding

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Many organisms possess physiological and morphological adaptations, coupled with symbiotic relationships with specialized microbes in their gut to help them maximize the efficiency of digestion. Omnivores, particularly those that eat arthropods and plants, must digest both chitin and cellulose, two compounds that are notoriously hard to break down. This investigation documents how changes in diets acutely impact digestive efficiency in the gastrointestinal tracts of a reptilian omnivore. A sample of day geckos (Phelsuma grandis) are fed three distinct dietary regimens: arthropod only, fruit only, and a combination of both. Here, we report baseline differences in digestive efficiency for future complementary studies using chronic treatments and microbiome assays. This study not only contributes to our knowledge of reptilian digestive physiology, but also sheds light on the intricate interplay between diet, gut microbiota, and overall digestive efficiency in these organisms.


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