Roots of the biscuitroot (Lomatium cous) are a common food of grizzly bears (Ursus arctos horribilis) in drier parts of their southern range. I used random sampling and locations of radiomarked bears in the Yellowstone ecosystem to investigate the importance of mass and starch content of roots, digability of the site, and density of plants relative to selection of sites by grizzly bears to dig biscuitroots. Where biscuitroots were present, most differences between dug and undug sites were related to digability of the site and mass and starch content of roots. Grizzly bears more often dug in sites where average milligrams of starch per kilogram of pull per root (a??energy gain) was high. Density of biscuitroots was not related to selection of sites by grizzly bears. Mass of biscuitroot stems also provided relatively little information about mass of roots. Distribution of biscuitroots was associated with increased cover of rocks and exposure to wind, and with decreased slopes and cover of forbs. Digs by grizzly bears were associated with the presence of biscuitroots, proximity to edge of forest, and increased cover of rocks. Results were consistent with previously observed tendencies of grizzly bears to concentrate their feeding within 50-100 m of cover.
Additional publication details
Selection of microsites by grizzly bears to excavate biscuitroots (Lomatium cous)