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Camel spider (Solifugae) use of prairie dog colonies

Permanent URL:
http://handle.nal.usda.gov/10113/58505
File:
Download [PDF File]
Abstract:
Solifugids (camel spiders) are widespread throughout arid regions of western North America and are thought to be important in structuring desert arthropod communities. Despite the ubiquity of camel spiders, little is known about their ecology. Black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) are also widespread in western North America and are important ecosystem engineers, but they have been reduced in extent because of human activity. Here we report significantly greater numbers of camel spiders on black-tailed prairie dog colonies in southern New Mexico. The difference in vegetation structure created by prairie dog activity is likely the reason for the increased prevalence of camel spiders on colonies. Because camel spiders are important predators and prey, the observation that colonies support higher numbers of these animals provides a mechanism explaining differences in arthropod communities on and off colonies and explaining the preferential foraging behavior of vertebrates associated with prairie dog colonies.
Author(s):
B. D. Duval , W. G. Whitford
Subject(s):
Araneae , Cynomys ludovicianus , Solifugae , arid zones , arthropod communities , foraging , host-parasite relationships , predators , vegetation structure , New Mexico
Source:
Western North American Naturalist 2009 v.69 no.2
Language:
English
Year:
2009
Collection:
Journal Articles, USDA Authors, Peer-Reviewed
Rights:
Works produced by employees of the U.S. Government as part of their official duties are not copyrighted within the U.S. The content of this document is not copyrighted.