Date of this Version
Scientific Reports (2023) 13: 20889
Invasive wild pigs (Sus scrofa) are one of the most widespread, destructive vertebrate species globally. Their success can largely be attributed to their generalist diets, which are dominated by plant material but also include diverse animal taxa. Wild pigs are demonstrated nest predators of ground-nesting birds and reptiles, and likely pose a threat to amphibians given their extensive overlap in wetland use. DNA metabarcoding of fecal samples from 222 adult wild pigs culled monthly from 2017 to 2018 revealed a diverse diet dominated by plant material, with 166 plant genera from 56 families and 18 vertebrate species identified. Diet composition varied seasonally with availability for plants and was consistent between sexes. Amphibians were the most frequent vertebrate group consumed and represented the majority of vertebrate species detected, suggesting amphibians are potentially vulnerable to predation by wild pigs in our study region. Mammal, reptile, and bird species were also detected in pig diets, but infrequently. Our results highlight the need for research on the impacts of wild pigs on amphibians to better inform management and conservation of imperiled species.