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Keywords:

  • radio telemetry;
  • Ctenomys minutus ;
  • tuco-tucos;
  • subterranean rodents;
  • home-range size;
  • soil conditions

Abstract

The environment physically limits animal movement and use of space. In the case of subterranean rodents, natural selection is expected to favor burrow structures that minimize energetic costs of digging. However, in some cases the same species is found in habitats that strongly differ in resource availability and soil characteristics, as in Ctenomys minutus. This species is thus a good model in which to estimate the influence of habitat on behavioral characteristics such as home-range size. We evaluated the home-range sizes of two C. minutus populations that inhabit different habitats: sand dunes and sand fields. We radio tracked 19 adult animals, and estimated the home-range size of each individual using the grid cell (2 × 2 m covering all of the radio fixes), and minimum convex polygon (MCP) methods. Our results show that home ranges of C. minutus differ in the two habitats, with average size 1.75 times larger for individuals inhabiting sand dunes. This difference in home-range size between habitats is likely associated with differences in resource availability (plant biomass) or soil conditions.