Subterranean Rodents: News from Underground by Sabine Begall, Hynek Burda, Cristian Eric Schleich

By Sabine Begall, Hynek Burda, Cristian Eric Schleich

Across the globe, approximately 250 species of rodents spend so much in their lives in secure and good, yet darkish, oxygen-poor and carbon dioxide-rich burrows, disadvantaged of lots of the sensory cues to be had aboveground. they've got develop into totally really good for a different lifestyle during which foraging and breeding ensue underground. The systematic examine into diversifications of subterranean dwellers is simply approximately twenty years previous, however it has speedily intensified in the previous few years, bringing perception into many features of the biology and evolution at varied association levels.

Subterranean Rodents offers achievements from the final years of study on those rodents, divided into 5 sections: ecophysiology; sensory ecology; existence histories, behavioural ecology and demography; environmental and cost effective influence; molecular ecology and evolution. it's a needs to for all researchers operating during this box and may be of curiosity to zoologists, physiologists, morphologists, ecologists, and evolutionary biologists.

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Indeed, at least Fukomys and Heliophobius mole-rats and coruros (Spalacopus cyanus) seem to avoid this kind of “heating” and prefer, in the wild, dry non-decaying materials such as plastic bags and nylon stockings as nest bedding. Also, subterranean rodents frequently abandon old nests with old bedding and build new nest chambers (Scharff and Grütjen 1997; Begall and Gallardo 2000; Scharff et al. 2001; Šumbera et al. 2004). 2 Humidity Humidity is probably the most stable factor in burrows with the air of sealed burrows being almost saturated with water even if soil is dry or frozen (Kay and Whitford 1978; Zeng et al.

1984; Moore and Roper 2003). Still, as with other microenvironmental factors, burrow humidity depends on aboveground conditions in open systems as shown in Dipodomys merriami (Kay and Whitford 1978) or four species of Gerbillurus (Downs and Perrin 1989) originating from arid habitats where humidity in burrows is affected by presence of fog or cloudy weather. On the other hand, humidity in sealed burrows of Heliophobius does not differ between the beginning of the dry season following rains and mid of hot dry season (Šumbera et al.

3 Further Perspectives To understand better the factors affecting the microclimatic conditions of subterranean burrow systems, more comparative data are needed, especially long-term temperature measurements in nests (rather than in burrows) of diverse species from diverse habitats and different geographical regions. More importantly, to get insight about the real conditions, animals are facing in their environment, recordings should be done in occupied nests. Ventilation of burrows and nests is still poorly understood, and effective oxygen and carbon dioxide concentrations faced by working individuals and animals huddling in nests are of great interest.

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