3 years ago

Space use patterns of the burrowing echimyid rodent, Clyomys laticeps

Claire Pauline Röpke Ferrando, Jenifer Martins Lamberto, Natália Oliveira Leiner

Abstract

Space use patterns of a population are a result of the set of movements of its individuals, which are directly influenced by their attributes and environmental conditions. Understanding space use patterns and its determinants may give us insights about a species’ ecology, social and mating systems. Although echimyid rodents display a variety of mating and social systems, movements of burrowing species are poorly studied due to their cryptic habits. Hence, in this study, we evaluated the effects of body mass, sex, and palm fruit availability on space use patterns of the burrowing echimyid Clyomys laticeps, by measuring their daily home range (DHR) and intensity of habitat use. In 9 months of study in a “cerrado campo sujo” site, we tracked 14 adults with the spool‐and‐line in a backpack method. Adult males had larger DHR size than females, probably as a response to greater body mass and reproductive behavior. Furthermore, adult females had greater intensity of habitat use, presenting site fidelity, which can be due to offspring care as a response to non‐seasonal reproduction observed in our study and/or due to nest site defense strategy to avoid energetic costs associated with burrow construction. Differently from expected, food availability (i.e., Allagoptera campestris palm fruits) had no influence on the space use patterns of C. laticeps. As in other herbivorous rodents, shifts in proportion of consumed food items according to their availability may explain the lack of this influence in our study. Our findings suggest that space use patterns of C. laticeps are mainly explained by behavioral and physiological differences between sexes, including body mass and reproductive strategies. Additionally, larger male movements and female site fidelity suggest a solitary behavior and a polygynous mating system, although further studies regarding spatial organization and genetic structure are necessary to support these suggestions.

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