Population Ecology of Banner-Tailed Kangaroo Rats (Dipodomys spectabilis) in a Chihuahuan Desert Grassland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico
From March 2005-Februaury 2009, a population of banner-tailed kangaroo rats was monitored using mark-recapture methods. All active kangaroo rat mounds on the 18-ha Nunn Flats site were trapped monthly. All captured individuals were marked and reproductive status and mass were recorded. From February to July 2008 a subset of adult females received supplemental food. This dataset was collected to observe the survivorship, reproduction, and dispersal of banner-tailed kangaroo rats in response to changes in resources and density. Both observational and experimental methods were used to observe how ecological constraints affected juvenile dispersal.
Site was 18 ha with 167 mounds of varying condition. Mounds with activity and previous captures were trapped for 3 consective nights each month from March 2005-February 2009. No trapping occurred during January 2007 and only two nights were trapped during February 2006. A small subset of the study area was trapped for two days in February 2005. Beginning on February 28, 2008 through July 3, 2008, I gave additional food to 12 adult females. 500 ml of mixed birdseed was placed at their mounds (805, 3405, 5405, 6105, 5905, 16105, 8105, 11205, 11905, 9005, 7505, and 12705) each week.
Each month all kangaroo rat mounds on study area were censused for signs of activity (digging, feces, etc.). At all active mounds 2-4 sherman live traps (Model XLK folding trap) were placed and baited with sweet feed each month. Traps were open at dusk and check 3-6 hours later. Captured animals were marked with an implantable PIT (Passive Integrated Transponder, Biomark, 12mm x 2.1mm) tags using a sterile, 12-gauge needle. A small piece of ear tissue was removed for parentage analysis. Mound location, reproductive status, mass, and gender were also recorded. Mass was recorded using a Pesola spring scale with two-gram increments.
Mark-recapture techniques were used to monitor a population of banner-tailed kangaroo rats.1267