Burrow architecture of the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) from South Africa

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dc.contributor.author Thomas, H.G. (Hannah Grace)
dc.contributor.author Swanepoel, Daniel
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-19T07:58:08Z
dc.date.issued 2016-04
dc.description.abstract The burrow architecture (length, internal dimensions, fractal dimension of tunnel systems, number of nesting chambers and surface mounds) was investigated in the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis). A total of 31 animals were caught from five different colonies and their burrow systems were excavated in their entirety. The mean and SD colony size was 6 ± 3.3, with a range of 2-10 mole-rats. The sex ratio was male biased 1.21:1. Males had a body mass of 80.5 ± 33.8g, but were not significantly different to those of females which had a mean body mass of 83.4 ± 24.9g. The burrow system of the Damaraland mole-rats follows the same general architectural plan as recorded for other species of mole-rat with either one or two more centrally based deeper more permanent burrows which often connect to a nest area, which is used for resting and rearing offspring. The burrow systems contained several more superficial secondary tunnels at a shallower depth. The secondary tunnels accounted for up to 80% of the total burrow system. The mean length of the burrow system was 130.4m and covered an area of 1403m². The mean number of secondary branches in a burrow system was 10. The mean fractal dimension was 1.154 which implies the mole-rats do not explore their surrounding environment particularly efficiently when compared to that of other mole-rat species, but this may relate to the size of the main food resource, the Eland bean (Elephantorrhiza elephantina) which is randomly distributed and fed on in situ. Our study showed that colony size influences the size and complexity of the burrow system with larger colonies having a longer burrow system covering a greater area with more secondary tunnels than that of smaller colonies. en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2017-04-30
dc.description.librarian hb2016 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship The University of Pretoria, by the SARChI Chair of Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology and by the National Research Foundation, South Africa to NCB. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://www.nisc.co.za/products/59/journals/african-zoology en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Hannah G Thomas, Daniel Swanepoel & Nigel C Bennett (2016) Burrow architecture of the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) from South Africa, African Zoology, 51:1, 29-36 DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2015.1128355. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 1562-7020 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 2224-073X (online)
dc.identifier.other 10.1080/15627020.2015.1128355
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/56740
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Taylor and Francis and NISC (Pty) Ltd en_ZA
dc.rights © Zoological Society of Southern Africa. This is an electronic version of an article published in African Zoology, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 29-36, 2016. doi : 10.1080/15627020.2015.1128355. African Zoology is available online at : http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/rasr20. en_ZA
dc.subject Burrow system en_ZA
dc.subject Fukomys damarensis en_ZA
dc.subject Fractal dimension en_ZA
dc.subject Mole-rat en_ZA
dc.subject Foraging en_ZA
dc.title Burrow architecture of the Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) from South Africa en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA


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