Microclimatic stability in burrows of an Afrotropical solitary bathyergid rodent, the silvery mole-rat (Heliophobius argenteocinereus)


All correspondence to: R. Šumbera. E-mail: sumbera@tix.bf.jcu.cz


Mean depth and mean size of burrow system components, burrow-soil temperatures and actual diurnal temperatures, humidity and oxygen concentration in burrows of silvery mole-rats Heliophobius argenteocinereus were measured in two mesic areas in Malawi. Mesic tropic climate, together with soil and plant cover contribute to a diurnally and seasonally stable microclimate even in shallow burrows. Daily and seasonal changes of burrow temperatures were lower compared to those in bathyergids from temperate areas where ambient and burrow temperatures undergo larger fluctuations. Silvery mole-rats in Malawi are thus probably not distressed by these environmental factors.