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Wie hängt das zusammen?


and digestion

Some alpine animals eat grass with many fibres (cellulose) and cannot digest them. Cellulose-degrading microorganisms, which live in their intestines, help them and so they can survive and don’t starve, such as the chamois (ruminants), the ibex or the ptarmigan (with its extra-long caecum).  

Picture: Neocallimastix is an anaerobic fungus that lives with no oxygen in the gut of ruminants. The special feature of the fungi: It can break down cellulose, the main structure of grass.
Neocallimastix ein Pilz aus dem Darm des Steinbocks, Copyright S. Leis
Fungus in the gut of chamois attaches to grass.

Symbiosis partners

of alpine animals

Some alpine animals eat lignocellulosic – (fiber-) rich materials and harbour specific cellulosic microorganisms, such as anaerobic fungi (Neocallimastigomycota). This symbiosis is common in alpine ruminants like ibex and chamois, and in the ptarmigan with its extra-long intestines.


Institute of Microbiology (Insam), School of Education (Kapellari), Alpenzoo (Böhm)