Foraging and reproductive behavior of Arizona gray squirrels (Sciurus arizonensis): Impacts of climatic variation

Nichole L. Cudworth, John Koprowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Optimal timing of reproduction is critical to ensure adequate conditions for raising young. However, factors influencing timing of reproduction may differ between sexes. Harsh seasonal environments offer unique opportunities to link timing with resource availability and strategies of the sexes. The Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) inhabits arid forests in which precipitation is highly seasonal and exceptionally variable; however, no data are available on diet or reproduction. We investigated annual variation in foraging and reproductive habits of Arizona gray squirrels to assess responses to extreme seasonality. We found that Arizona gray squirrels have a diverse diet, with consumption of major food items shifting between years. Reproduction also varies between years. Reproductive output was greater in 2008, with more females successfully reproducing and males remaining in reproductive condition for extended periods. Males shifted timing of reproductive behaviors in response to female receptivity, which tracked food availability. This shift likely reflects variation in food production due to precipitation, because rainfall varied greatly, with most years prior to and during our study recording below-average rainfall. With drought conditions and extreme rainfall events predicted to increase with climate change, understanding the relationship between climatic events, phenology of food production, and impacts on reproduction is critical when attempting to manage and conserve species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume94
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2013

Fingerprint

Sciurus carolinensis
Reproductive Behavior
Sciurus
Sciuridae
reproductive behavior
foraging behavior
Reproduction
foraging
Food
food production
rain
rainfall
diet
Diet
gender
Climate Change
Droughts
resource availability
food availability
phenology

Keywords

  • Arizona
  • Climate
  • Food availability
  • Resource limitation
  • Sciurus arizonensis
  • Squirrel
  • Timing of reproduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

Cite this

Foraging and reproductive behavior of Arizona gray squirrels (Sciurus arizonensis) : Impacts of climatic variation. / Cudworth, Nichole L.; Koprowski, John.

In: Journal of Mammalogy, Vol. 94, No. 3, 06.2013, p. 683-690.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e96adb21538345ada86bc7697f07a2df,
title = "Foraging and reproductive behavior of Arizona gray squirrels (Sciurus arizonensis): Impacts of climatic variation",
abstract = "Optimal timing of reproduction is critical to ensure adequate conditions for raising young. However, factors influencing timing of reproduction may differ between sexes. Harsh seasonal environments offer unique opportunities to link timing with resource availability and strategies of the sexes. The Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) inhabits arid forests in which precipitation is highly seasonal and exceptionally variable; however, no data are available on diet or reproduction. We investigated annual variation in foraging and reproductive habits of Arizona gray squirrels to assess responses to extreme seasonality. We found that Arizona gray squirrels have a diverse diet, with consumption of major food items shifting between years. Reproduction also varies between years. Reproductive output was greater in 2008, with more females successfully reproducing and males remaining in reproductive condition for extended periods. Males shifted timing of reproductive behaviors in response to female receptivity, which tracked food availability. This shift likely reflects variation in food production due to precipitation, because rainfall varied greatly, with most years prior to and during our study recording below-average rainfall. With drought conditions and extreme rainfall events predicted to increase with climate change, understanding the relationship between climatic events, phenology of food production, and impacts on reproduction is critical when attempting to manage and conserve species.",
keywords = "Arizona, Climate, Food availability, Resource limitation, Sciurus arizonensis, Squirrel, Timing of reproduction",
author = "Cudworth, {Nichole L.} and John Koprowski",
year = "2013",
month = "6",
doi = "10.1644/12-MAMM-A-087.1",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "94",
pages = "683--690",
journal = "Journal of Mammalogy",
issn = "0022-2372",
publisher = "Allen Press Inc.",
number = "3",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Foraging and reproductive behavior of Arizona gray squirrels (Sciurus arizonensis)

T2 - Impacts of climatic variation

AU - Cudworth, Nichole L.

AU - Koprowski, John

PY - 2013/6

Y1 - 2013/6

N2 - Optimal timing of reproduction is critical to ensure adequate conditions for raising young. However, factors influencing timing of reproduction may differ between sexes. Harsh seasonal environments offer unique opportunities to link timing with resource availability and strategies of the sexes. The Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) inhabits arid forests in which precipitation is highly seasonal and exceptionally variable; however, no data are available on diet or reproduction. We investigated annual variation in foraging and reproductive habits of Arizona gray squirrels to assess responses to extreme seasonality. We found that Arizona gray squirrels have a diverse diet, with consumption of major food items shifting between years. Reproduction also varies between years. Reproductive output was greater in 2008, with more females successfully reproducing and males remaining in reproductive condition for extended periods. Males shifted timing of reproductive behaviors in response to female receptivity, which tracked food availability. This shift likely reflects variation in food production due to precipitation, because rainfall varied greatly, with most years prior to and during our study recording below-average rainfall. With drought conditions and extreme rainfall events predicted to increase with climate change, understanding the relationship between climatic events, phenology of food production, and impacts on reproduction is critical when attempting to manage and conserve species.

AB - Optimal timing of reproduction is critical to ensure adequate conditions for raising young. However, factors influencing timing of reproduction may differ between sexes. Harsh seasonal environments offer unique opportunities to link timing with resource availability and strategies of the sexes. The Arizona gray squirrel (Sciurus arizonensis) inhabits arid forests in which precipitation is highly seasonal and exceptionally variable; however, no data are available on diet or reproduction. We investigated annual variation in foraging and reproductive habits of Arizona gray squirrels to assess responses to extreme seasonality. We found that Arizona gray squirrels have a diverse diet, with consumption of major food items shifting between years. Reproduction also varies between years. Reproductive output was greater in 2008, with more females successfully reproducing and males remaining in reproductive condition for extended periods. Males shifted timing of reproductive behaviors in response to female receptivity, which tracked food availability. This shift likely reflects variation in food production due to precipitation, because rainfall varied greatly, with most years prior to and during our study recording below-average rainfall. With drought conditions and extreme rainfall events predicted to increase with climate change, understanding the relationship between climatic events, phenology of food production, and impacts on reproduction is critical when attempting to manage and conserve species.

KW - Arizona

KW - Climate

KW - Food availability

KW - Resource limitation

KW - Sciurus arizonensis

KW - Squirrel

KW - Timing of reproduction

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84878838334&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84878838334&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1644/12-MAMM-A-087.1

DO - 10.1644/12-MAMM-A-087.1

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:84878838334

VL - 94

SP - 683

EP - 690

JO - Journal of Mammalogy

JF - Journal of Mammalogy

SN - 0022-2372

IS - 3

ER -