Individuals of Gerbillus allenbyi Thomas, 1918 were subjected to artificial illumination in large field enclosures (2-ha sandy-substrate plots in the Negev Desert, Israel). The illumination was similar to that provided by a full moon and was used to mimic the elevated risk of avian predation that accompanies a full moon. We artificially illuminated the enclosures during all hours of darkness for 3 consecutive months. In some cases, we also added individuals of Gerbillus pyramidum Geoffroy, 1825 to provide a competitive challenge for the G. allenbyi. In the presence of the light source, individuals of G. allenbyi shifted their foraging activity to favor experimental areas of darkness. They also foraged less in the open and more beneath bushes. In the absence of the light source, G allenbyi shifted its activity from the subplot with G pyramidum to the subplot without the competitor. However, the competitive effect of the G pyramidum disappeared in plots that were artificially illuminated. These results closely resemble those of earlier experiments during which we increased the apparent risk of predation in brief pulses lasting only 2 h/night.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology