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Nest-site characteristics of the montane endemic Mearnss squirrel Tamiasciurus mearnsi an obligate cavity-nester?

, : Nest-site characteristics of the montane endemic Mearnss squirrel Tamiasciurus mearnsi an obligate cavity-nester?. Journal of Mammalogy 94(1): 50-58

Many animals depend on nests for their survival and reproduction, with some species considered obligate tree cavity-nesters. Mearns's squirrel (Tamiasciurus mearnsi) is a species endemic to the Sierra de San Pedro M rtir, Baja California, Mexico, that relies on tree cavities for nesting. Federally listed as threatened in Mexico, and as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the ecology of this southernmost Tamiasciurus is poorly known. The aim of this study was to examine the nesting requirements of Mearns's squirrels. We used telemetry to locate the nests and 10-m-radius circular plots to compare habitat characteristics between nest sites and random sites, nest sites of males and females, and nest sites of breeding and nonbreeding females. Nest tree species, nest tree condition, nest tree size (diameter at breast height), canopy cover, and occurrence of white firs (Abies concolor) are important characteristics for nesting. Nest sites of males did not differ from those of females except for nest tree condition. Females apparently do not have specific nesting requirements for rearing young. Unlike other congeners that also build leaf nests and underground burrows for nesting, large trees and snags that facilitate cavity formation are critical for the conservation of this species. Muchos animales dependen de nidos para su sobrevivencia y reproducci n con algunas especies consideradas anidadoras de cavidad obligadas. La ardilla de Mearns (Tamiasciurus mearnsi) es una especie end mica de la Sierra de San Pedro M rtir, Baja California, M xico, la cual depende de cavidades de rboles para anidar. Listada federalmente como amenazada en M xico, y como en peligro por la Uni n Internacional para la Conservaci n de la Naturaleza, la ecolog a de esta Tamiasciurus sure a es pobremente conocida. El objetivo de este estudio fue examinar los requerimientos de anidaci n de las ardillas de Mearns. Utilizamos telemetr a para localizar los nidos y cuadrantes circulares de 10 m de radio para comparar caracter sticas del h bitat entre los sitios de anidaci n y sitios al azar, sitios de anidaci n de machos y hembras, y sitios de anidaci n de hembras reproductivas y no reproductivas. La especie del rbol de anidaci n, la condici n del rbol de anidaci n, el tama o (di metro a la altura del pecho) del rbol de anidaci n, la cobertura del dosel y la abundancia de abetos blancos (Abies concolor) son caracter sticas importantes para anidar. Los sitios de anidaci n de los machos no difirieron de las hembras excepto por la condici n del rbol de anidaci n. Las hembras aparentemente no tienen requerimientos espec ficos de anidaci n al tener cr as. A diferencia de otros cong neres que tambi n construyen nidos de hoja y madrigueras subterr neas para anidar, los rboles grandes y tocones que facilitan la formaci n de cavidades son cr ticos para la conservaci n de esta especie.


DOI: 10.1644/12-MAMM-A-113.1

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