Attributes of Rock Crevices Selected by Allegheny and Eastern Woodrats in the Zone of Contact in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina

By Rossell, C. Reed; Roach, Stacey H. et al. | The American Midland Naturalist, July 2009 | Go to article overview

Attributes of Rock Crevices Selected by Allegheny and Eastern Woodrats in the Zone of Contact in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina


Rossell, C. Reed, Roach, Stacey H., Rossell, Irene M., The American Midland Naturalist


ABSTRACT.

We investigated the attributes of rock crevices selected by Allegheny (Neotoma magister) and eastern woodrats (N. floridana haematoreia) in their zone of contact in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. In North Carolina, N. magister and N. f. haematoreia both occur in rocky habitats above 300 m, and are listed as species of special concern. We studied 14 active sites (N. magister. n = 9; N. f. haematoreia: n = 5) where woodrats had been captured 1 y prior to our study and identified to species using the mitochondrial DNA D-loop analysis. At each site, we measured the attributes of 10 crevices used by woodrats and 10 corresponding random crevices located < 15 m from each used crevice. Neotoma magister and N. f. haematoreia selected crevices with larger dimensions (height, width and depth) and more internal fissures (openings >5 cm in diameter) than those available in the surrounding environments. All crevices used by N. magister (n = 90) and N. f. haematoreia (n = 50) were dry. Neotoma magister were more specialized than N. f. haematoreia, as they selected crevices that were south-facing. These results suggest that both N. magister and N. f. haematoreia are habitat specialists in the southern Appalachians, preferring crevices with larger dimensions and more internal fissures to enhance their protection against severe weather and predators. The preference for south-facing crevices by N. magister suggests that they may be better adapted at surviving colder climatic conditions, thus enabling them to inhabit higher elevations in the mountains. Based on these specialized habitat preferences, we suggest that suitable rock crevices may be a limiting factor to both species in the southern Appalachians. In addition, the similarity in attributes of rock crevices selected by these species suggests that habitat is not a factor that will prevent hybridization between these species where they co-occur in the mountains of North Carolina.

INTRODUCTION

Two species of woodrats inhabit die eastern United States. The Allegheny woodrat (Neotoma magister) is generally associated with rocky habitats and ranges throughout the Appalachian Mountains to Pennsylvania, the Cumberland Plateau and the Ohio River Valley (Castleberry et al, 2006). The eastern woodrat (N. floridana), which is comprised of eight subspecies, occupies a variety of habitats and occurs throughout much of the south-central and southeastern United States (Monty and Emerson, 2003). Neotoma magister share distributional boundaries with two subspecies of N. floridana: N. f. haematoreia in North Carolina and Tennessee, and N. f illinoensis in Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky and Illinois (Ray et al, 2002). Both N. magister and N. f haematoreia are listed as federal species of concern (LeGrand et al, 2006), because of declining populations throughout their ranges (Monty et al., 2003; Monty and Emerson, 2003; LoGiudice, 2006). Although reasons for their decline are unknown, LoGiudice (2006) suggests a suite of factors including habitat fragmentation, changes in forest composition, fatal exposure as a secondary host to a parasite and proliferation of human-adapted predators.

In the Appalachian Mountains of western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee, where both Neotoma magister and M floridana haematoreia are found (Ray et al, 2002) , there is a lack of information on the habitats diese species use. Recent surveys in North Carolina indicate diat both N. magister and N. f. haematoreia are sporadically distributed and found in rocky habitats above 300 m, although N. f. haematoreia occasionally occur in old barns and abandoned buildings (Ray, 2000).

All members of die genus Neotoma use dens for protection from predators and adverse weather conditions, and as places to rest, store food, nest and rear young (Cameron and Rainey, 1972; Nowak and Paradiso, 1983). Neotoma dens are elaborate (Nowak and Paradiso, 1983), contain multiple entrances and exits, are large enough to accommodate nests and food cache sites and have peripheral areas for latrine sites (Rainey, 1956; Cameron and Rainey, 1972; Monty and Emerson, 2003).

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Attributes of Rock Crevices Selected by Allegheny and Eastern Woodrats in the Zone of Contact in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.