Response to enrichment, type and timing: small mammals vary in their response to a springtime cicada but not a carbohydrate pulse
Article first published online: 5 AUG 2008
© 2008 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Journal of Animal Ecology
Volume 78, Issue 1, pages 202–209, January 2009
How to Cite
Vandegrift, K. J. and Hudson, P. J. (2009), Response to enrichment, type and timing: small mammals vary in their response to a springtime cicada but not a carbohydrate pulse. Journal of Animal Ecology, 78: 202–209. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2656.2008.01456.x
- Issue published online: 11 DEC 2008
- Article first published online: 5 AUG 2008
- Received 29 February 2008; accepted 25 June 2008; Handling Editor: Tim Benton
- food addition;
- paradox of enrichment;
- Pterygodermatities permoysci;
- pulsed resources;
- seasonal nutrition
- 1Masting events in the autumn provide a carbohydrate-rich pulse of resources that can influence the dynamics of small mammals and their natural enemies. Similar patterns are observed with the periodical cicada emergence which provides a protein-rich pulse in the spring, but comparisons are confounded by timing and food type.
- 2We compared the influence of a naturally occurring spring pulse of cicadas with an experimental spring pulse of carbohydrate-rich seeds. We used a replicated population level field experiment and capture–mark–recapture techniques to record the vital rates, demographics, and abundance of Peromyscus leucopus (the white-footed mouse), as well as other small mammals and their parasites.
- 3The density of P. leucopus on grids where cicadas emerged was 55% higher than controls as a consequence of early breeding. This was followed by an increase in the prevalence of the nematode Pterygodermatities peromysci, reduced breeding and decreased recruitment rates. Other small mammals including Tamias striatus (eastern chipmunk) and Blarina brevicauda (short-tailed shrew), increased in density, but there was no affect on Sorex cinereus (masked shrew).
- 4In contrast to the presence of cicadas, there was no influence of sunflower seed supplementation on small mammal density, vital rates, or reproduction with the exception of an increase in B. brevicauda density. The response of small mammals to seasonal pulses depends on timing, food type, and species.