High Spring Mortality of Adult Richardson’s Ground Squirrels, Urocitellus richardsonii, Associated with a Severe Rainstorm in Southwestern Saskatchewan
Keywords:Richardson’s Ground Squirrel, Urocitellus richardsonii, Spermophillus richardsonii, natural mortality, spring rainstorm, weather, Saskatchewan
AbstractHeavy rains with strong winds in southwestern Saskatchewan from 20 to 29 May 2010 flooded fields where adult Richardson’s Ground Squirrels (Urocitellus richardsonii) had recently been live–trapped. Natural mortality rates in six marked populations (n = 11 to 29 animals) ranged from 9.1 to 42.9%. The mean mortality rate of populations (28.9%) was significantly greater than that estimated for four populations (8.5%) studied in April and May 2007 and 2008 during drought periods. This finding is in agreement with past studies on other ground squirrel species which showed that spring snowstorms and heavy rains caused an increase in natural mortality rates.
Copyright for Canadian Field-Naturalist content is held by the Ottawa Field-Naturalists' Club, except for content published by employees of federal government departments, in which case the copyright is held by the Crown. In-copyright content available at the Biodiversity Heritage Library is available for re-use under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) licence. For usage of content at the BHL for purposes other than those allowed under this licence, contact us.
To request use of copyright material, please contact our editor, Dr. Dwayne Lepitzki: editor -at- canadianfieldnaturalist -dot- ca