Micro-geographic variation in burrow use of Agassiz’s desert tortoises in the Sonoran Desert of California

The Herpetological Journal
By: , and 

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Abstract

Little has been published regarding the burrowing habits of Agassiz’s desert tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) in the Sonoran Desert of California. We monitored the interactions of tortoises with their burrows, and other tortoises, via radio-telemetry at two nearby sites between the Cottonwood and Orocopia Mountains, from 2015-2018. We examined how annual cycles of drought and non-drought years, behaviourally affected how tortoises use their burrows (i.e., burrow fidelity, cohabitation,
and location), including the timing of the tortoise brumation period. Burrow locations were strongly dependent on local geology and topography, with a tendency to orientate in conformance with the general aspect of the landscape. The timing of brumation was similar to records for G. agassizii throughout their range (with a few exceptions). There was no difference in the estimated number of burrows used per 30 days between the active seasons (2017 and 2018) at the Orocopia site, despite the occurrence of drought in 2018.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Micro-geographic variation in burrow use of Agassiz’s desert tortoises in the Sonoran Desert of California
Series title The Herpetological Journal
DOI 10.33256/hj30.4.177188
Volume 30
Issue 4
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher British Herpetological Society
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 12 p.
First page 177
Last page 188
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Sonoran Desert
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