Mineral nutrition and alimentary pools in muskoxen and caribou on the Angujaartorfiup Nunaa range in West Greenland


  • Hans Staaland Agricultural University of Norway, Dept of Biology and Nature Conservation, Box 5014, N-1432 Ås, Norway
  • Carsten Riis Olesen Danmarks miljøundersøgelser, Afd for flora og faunaøkologi i Kalø, Grenåvej 12, DK-8410 Rønde, Danmark




Ovibos moschatus, Rangifer tarandus groenlandicus, alimentary tract, minerals, omasum, caecum, grazing strategy, Greenland


Minerals (Na, K, Cl, Ca, P, Mg) and crude protein concentrations as well as total contents were measured throughout the alimentary tract of muskoxen and caribou from Angujaatorfiup Nunaa range, Søndre Strømfjord area in West Greenland. The muskoxen had significantly higher K concentrations in the caecum and proximal colon than the caribou. Caribou collected during the summer season had the highest Mg concentrations throughout the alimentary tract. In both species water, Na, K and CI concentrations decreased through the distal part of the alimentary system whereas Ca, Mg, P and crude protein concentrations increased. The muskoxen had relatively larger mineral pools and total content in the omasum than the caribou, and the caribou relatively larger mineral pools (except K and CI) and total content in the caecum. Higher concentrations of Mg in the alimentary tract of the caribou than the muskoxen during the summer could also indicate that the caribou feed more on herbs with high concentrations of Mg. The data does also indicate that both the caribou and the muskoxen are living in an area where high intakes of minerals from both vegetation and mineral licks are possible. Based on the present study the muskoxen is apparently a typical grazer whereas the caribou is more like a concentrate selector.




How to Cite

Staaland, H., & Olesen, C. R. (1999). Mineral nutrition and alimentary pools in muskoxen and caribou on the Angujaartorfiup Nunaa range in West Greenland. Rangifer, 19(1), 33–40. https://doi.org/10.7557/




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