SCHLEICH Cristian Eric
capítulos de libros
BEGALL, S; BURDA, H; SCHLEICH, C.E.
Subterranean Rodents:News from Underground
Año: 2007; p. 3 - 9
Across the globe, in all continents but Australia and Antarctica, at least 250 extant rodent species (38 genera, 6 families according to the classification applied) spend most of their lives in self-constructed burrows (Table 1.1, Fig. 1.1). Their subterranean ecotope is dark, microclimatically stable, hypoxic and hypercapnic, and deprived of most sensory cues available aboveground. The burrows offer shelter from predators and climatic extremes, but digging is energetically costly, and the yield of foraging is relatively low, because the productivity of the subterranean ecotope is rather low and the food resources (roots and underground plant storage organs like bulbs and tubers) are mostly unpredictably and unevenly scattered. These so-called subterranean rodents are specialized in multiple aspects for their unique way of life in which most events like foraging, mating, and breeding take place underground. Animals that inhabit underground selfmade tunnels, but also forage (predominantly) above ground, are called fossorial. Needless to say, a continuum exists between fossorial and subterranean rodents, and in the present volume a categorical differentiation is mostly ignored on purpose. Another mammalian group sharing the same ecotope, but feeding on invertebrates, are subterranean non-rodent mammals like marsupial moles, certain armadillos, as well as insectivore moles (e.g. Talpidae) and golden moles (Chrysochloridae). Although the title of the book emphasizes that the focus is on subterranean rodents, we also encouraged the authors to glance at recent findings from studies on other subterranean mammals, and we hope that the reader will profit from this.