Body mass and winter severity as predictors of overwinter survival in preble's meadow jumping mouse

Robert A. Schorr, Paul M. Lukacs, Gregory L. Florant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Meadow jumping mice (Zapus hudsonius) reduce their metabolism substantially during hibernation and use stored fat reserves for overwinter energy needs. Preble's meadow jumping mouse (Z. h. preblei; PMJM) occurs along the Front Range of Colorado, north into southeastern Wyoming, and is listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act because of the conversion and degradation of riparian habitats. To better understand how increasing fat and body mass before hibernation impact overwinter survival, we conducted a mark-recapture study of PMJM at the United States Air Force Academy, El Paso County, Colorado. We used environmental covariates and individual covariates, such as body mass and fat mass, to improve survival estimates. Overwinter survival of female PMJM was higher during long, cold winters, whereas overwinter survival of males was lower during winters with much snowfall. For both sexes, heavier individuals had higher overwinter survival. A combination of large body mass and colder winters may allow PMJM to conserve valuable fat resources. Because periodic arousal from hibernation is the most energetically expensive activity over winter, increasing body size (reducing surface area-to-volume ratio) should increase energy conservation and probability of survival.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-24
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Mammalogy
Volume90
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2009

Keywords

  • Body mass
  • Hibernation
  • Huggins robust design
  • Preble"s meadow jumping mouse
  • Riparian habitat
  • Survival
  • Timing of trapping
  • Winter severity
  • Zapus hudsonius preblei

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