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Geographic variation in the black bear (Ursus americanus) in the eastern United States and Canada

Southwestern Naturalist

By:
, , , and
https://doi.org/10.2307/3672913

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Abstract

The pattern of geographic variation in morphologic characters of the black bear (Ursus americanus) was assessed at 13 sites in the eastern United States and Canada. Thirty measurements from 206 males and 207 females were recorded to the nearest 0.01 mm using digital calipers and subjected to principal components analysis. A matrix of correlations among skull characters was computed, and the first 3 principal components were extracted. These accounted for 90.5% of the variation in the character set for males and 87.1% for females. Three-dimensional projection of localities onto principal components showed that, for males and females, largest individuals occurred in the more southern localities (e.g., males--Louisiana-Mississippi, eastern Texas; females--Louisiana-eastern Texas) and the smallest animals occurred in the northernmost locality (Quebec). Generally, bears were similar morphologically to those in nearby geographic areas. For males, correlations between morphologic variation and environmental factors indicated a significant relationship between size variation and mean January temperature, mean July temperature, mean annual precipitation, latitude, and actual evapotranspiration; for females, a significant relationship was observed between morphologic variation and mean annual temperature, mean January temperature, mean July temperature, latitude, and actual evapotranspiration. There was no significant correlation for either sex between environmental factors and projections onto components II and III.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Geographic variation in the black bear (Ursus americanus) in the eastern United States and Canada
Series title:
Southwestern Naturalist
DOI:
10.2307/3672913
Volume:
47
Issue:
2
Year Published:
2002
Language:
English
Publisher:
Southwestern Association of Naturalists
Contributing office(s):
Fort Collins Science Center
Description:
10 p.
First page:
257
Last page:
266
Country:
Canada, United States