Adaptive geometry of burrow spacing in two pocket gopher populations.

O. J. Reichman, Thomas G Whitham, G. A. Ruffner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

95 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The burrows of Thomomys bottae analyzed in northern Arizona represent a tremendous energetic investment and are used for almost all activities of the rodents throughout their lives. Burrow length, home range area, perimeter, and number of adjacent neighbors were significantly higher for reproductive males than for females or nonreproductive males in the population. Spacing within and between individual burrow systems was uniform for all sizes and both sexes. Reproductive male pocket gophers relate to their neighbors in such a way as to increase the contact with potential mates, while all individuals, regardless of sex or reproductive condition, develop and maintain uniform internal spacing distances that are perhaps related to resource management. Males practice serial monogamy; instances were found of males and females sharing a common, deep nest between their individual burrows. This suggests a potential for parental care by males. Differences in plant production are possibly compensated for by altering burrow length rather than altering spacing. Plant production was approximately twice as great at one site as at the other. At the site of higher production, average burrow lengths were almost exactly one half those at the site of lower production. However, all values for spacing within and between individual burrow systems were statistically indistinguishable between the study sites. For both sites, the difference in burrow lengths appears to be attained by the addition of basic building units to a burrow, consisting of equal branch lengths and equal distances between branching points along a burrow. -from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)687-695
Number of pages9
JournalEcology
Volume63
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1982

Fingerprint

burrow
burrows
spacing
spatial distribution
geometry
Thomomys bottae
monogamy
gender
parental care
resource management
home range
rodent
branching
nest
rodents
energetics
nests

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology

Cite this

Adaptive geometry of burrow spacing in two pocket gopher populations. / Reichman, O. J.; Whitham, Thomas G; Ruffner, G. A.

In: Ecology, Vol. 63, No. 3, 1982, p. 687-695.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Reichman, OJ, Whitham, TG & Ruffner, GA 1982, 'Adaptive geometry of burrow spacing in two pocket gopher populations.', Ecology, vol. 63, no. 3, pp. 687-695.
Reichman, O. J. ; Whitham, Thomas G ; Ruffner, G. A. / Adaptive geometry of burrow spacing in two pocket gopher populations. In: Ecology. 1982 ; Vol. 63, No. 3. pp. 687-695.
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