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In this study we describe the design and application of an automated classification system that utilizes artificial intelligence to corroborate the finding that Gunnison's prairie dogs have different alarm calls for different species of predators. This corroboration is strong because it utilizes an entirely different analysis technique than that used in the original research by Slobodchikoff et al. [Slobodchikoff, C.N., Fischer, C., Shapiro, J., 1986. Predator-specific alarm calls of prairie dogs. Am. Zool. 26, 557] or in subsequent study done by Slobodchikoff et al. [Slobodchikoff, C.N., Kiriazis, J., Fischer, C., Creef, E., 1991. Semantic information distinguishing individual predators in the alarm calls of Gunnison's...
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These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the effectiveness of a sylvatic plague vaccine (see Rocke et al., 2017 for details). Vaccine and control plots were selected randomly from the available pairs at each location. Baits containing Rhodamine B, a biomarker, were distributed at each plot. At least 1 week and no more than 2 months post-baiting each year, local collaborators captured, marked, and sampled prairie dogs. Hair and whisker samples were collected from up to 50 unique prairie dogs from each plot each year. Sex, age, weight, and the identity of all current-year and prior-year recaptures were recorded for each captured animal. In the laboratory, hair/whiskers were assessed for the presence...
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Oral sylvatic plague vaccine baits (SPV) and placebo baits were distributed once annually from 2013-2016 on treated and non-treated paired plots from 2013-2016. Black-tailed prairie dogs (BTPD) were live-trapped and permanently marked with passive integrated transponders and ear tags on 4 pairs of plots each year from 2013-2017 to provide capture/recapture data for use in estimating BTPD survival. The first data set (CMR_SPV_RAW_CAPTURE_DATA.csv) lists all captures and associated covariates with each line representing data from a single prairie dog. The second data set (CMR_BTPD_WEIGHTS.csv) lists the weight and associated information for each prairie dog at each handling. The third data set (CMR_FLEAS_BY_HOST.csv)...
I measured rates of growth of individual Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) at three towns in the Moreno Valley, New Mexico; at an established prairie dog town (site I) prior to a plague (Yersinia pestis) epizootic and at two towns reestablished after the epizootic (sites 2 and 3). Populations declined by >99% during rile epizootic. After the epizootic, adults had greater mass, and juveniles grew faster than before. At sites 2 and 3, juveniles had high interyear survival (39%), whereas at site I, prior to plague, survival of juveniles was 17%. At sites 2 and 3, yearlings bred, whereas they did not al site 1. Mean litter size near the end of lactation was 1.5 at site 1 and 5.0 at sites 2 and 3. Application...
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This study addressed the initial effects of a reintroduction of Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) on resident small mammal and plant communities on the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR), New Mexico. In spring 1997, 60 prairie dogs (36.8 kg live mass) were introduced onto a former prairie dog colony in a desert grassland site. Small mammals and vegetation were sampled on both a treatment (reintroduction site) and a control site (without prairie dogs) before and after the prairie dogs were reintroduced. We tested for differences in small mammal and plant community change during the 1st year of the colony's existence using repeated measures analysis of variance. Although prairie dog biomass was ca....
Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) are social North American ground squirrels whose social system has been shown to vary with food resource distributions, as predicted by the habitat variability-mating system model. We expanded this model to include the effects of variations in population densities, in addition to resource distributions, on both the social system and the individual mating strategies of Gunnison's prairie dogs. Specifically, we predicted that monogamy would be associated with uniform resources, regardless of population density, giving way to polygyny with increasing resource patchiness at intermediate densities, and to multiple males and females at high population densities. In addition,...
Gunnison's prairie dogs have a complex alarm communication system. We show that the escape responses of prairie dogs to naturally occurring live predators differed depending upon the species of predator. We also show that playbacks of alarm calls that were elicited originally by the live predators produced the same escape responses as the live predators themselves. The escape responses fell into two qualitatively different categories: running to the burrow and diving inside for hawks and humans, and standing upright outside the burrow for coyotes and dogs. Within these two categories there were differences in response. For hawks, only the prairie dogs that were in the direct flight path of a stooping red-tailed...
Several species of raptors winter at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge) including the Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), Ferruginous Hawk (Buteo regalis), Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis), and Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus). Raptors were monitored each winter from 1988-89 to 1996-97 using a standardized road survey. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) form a major component of the prey base for wintering raptors on the Refuge, with 1850 ha of active prairie dog towns mapped in 1988. Prairie dog town areas and population data were determined by mapping active towns and conducting visual counts on study plots to determine population density on an annual basis from 1988...
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Identifying environmental parameters that influence probability of nest predation is important for developing and implementing effective management strategies for species of conservation concern. We estimated daily nest survival for a migratory population of burrowing owls (Athene cunicularia) breeding in black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies in Wyoming, USA. We compared estimates based on 3 common approaches: apparent nesting success, Mayfield estimates, and a model-based logistic-exposure approach. We also examined whether 8 intrinsic and extrinsic factors affected daily nest survival in burrowing owls. Positive biases in apparent nest survival were low (36%), probably because prior knowledge...
These data were collected as part of a field trial to test the efficacy of a sylvatic plague vaccine. Treatment and control sites were selected randomly from the available sites at each location. Site pairs were a minimum of 20 acres, (with a few exceptions). Prairie dog trapping took place a minimum of two weeks post-baiting and trapping procedures were approved by the NWHC Animal Care and Use Committee as well as individual states as required.
Prairie dogs (Cynomys spp.) have been labeled as keystone species because of their influence on biological diversity and ecosystem function. However, the validity of several assumptions used to support keystone status is questionable. We review the strength of the evidence and the magnitude of the prairie dog's effects on ecosystem structure and function. We use this review to reevaluate the keystone role for prairie dogs. Our goal is to encourage sound management of the prairie dog ecosystem by improving the ecological foundation of their keystone status. Our review confirms that prairie dogs affect a number of ecosystem-level functions but that their influence on prairie vertebrates may be less than previously...
1. 1. White-tailed prairie dogs are spontaneous hibernators while black-tailed prairie dogs do not hibernate unless severely deprived of food and water at low ambient temperatures. 2. 2. Contrary to what has been thought about spontaneous and facultative hibernators, both of these species in this study had similar body fat content when trapped in the field. Also, both species had an identical nonshivering thermogenic response when tested at mid-winter. 3. 3. White-tailed prairie dogs became spontaneously anorexic during late fall and underwent bouts of torpor while the black-tailed prairie dogs continued to eat throughout the winter and only rarely entered torpor. 4. 4. In spite of their different thermoregulatory...
Black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) colonies are important to many vertebrate populations in the shortgrass prairie ecosystem. Because it is often desirable to assess black-tailed prairie dog populations, and indirect methods generally are more economical than direct counts, we tested whether aboveground counts of black-tailed prairie dogs were related to burrow entrance densities. Higher densities of burrow entrances have been assumed to reflect higher prairie dog densities. We determined if maximum aboveground counts of black-tailed prairie dogs differed temporally in morning and evening in southwestern Kansas, compared maximum aboveground count data with burrow entrance densities, and evaluated the...


    map background search result map search result map Factors Affecting Daily Nest Survival of Burrowing Owls Within Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Colonies Responses of small mammals and vegetation to a reintroduction of Gunnison's prairie dogs SPV field trials bait uptake data Black-tailed prairie dog capture data from plots treated and not treated with oral plague vaccine from 2013-2017 in Montana Black-tailed prairie dog capture data from plots treated and not treated with oral plague vaccine from 2013-2017 in Montana Responses of small mammals and vegetation to a reintroduction of Gunnison's prairie dogs Factors Affecting Daily Nest Survival of Burrowing Owls Within Black-Tailed Prairie Dog Colonies SPV field trials bait uptake data