January 18, 2017

ARIZONA : Cynomys ludovicianus - Prairie Dog

Arizona black-tailed prairie dog


Cute little Prairie dogs eating grass, Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, Arizona



Prairie dog

Arizona Black-tailed Prairie Dogs
Prairie dogs (genus Cynomys) are herbivorous burrowing rodents native to the grasslands of North America. The five species are: black-tailed, white-tailed, Gunnison's, Utah, and Mexican prairie dogs. They are a type of ground squirrel, found in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In Mexico, prairie dogs are found primarily in the northern states, which lie at the southern end of the Great Plains: northeastern Sonora, north and northeastern Chihuahua, northern Coahuila, northern Nuevo León, and northern Tamaulipas. In the United States, they range primarily to the west of the Mississippi River, though they have also been introduced in a few eastern locales. Despite the name, they are not canines.

Etymology

Prairie dogs raise their heads from their burrows in response to disturbances.
Prairie dogs are named for their habitat and warning call, which sounds similar to a dog's bark. The name was in use at least as early as 1774. The 1804 journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition note that in September 1804, they "discovered a Village of an animal the French Call the Prairie Dog". Its genus, Cynomys, derives from the Greek for "dog mouse".

Description

On average, these stout-bodied rodents will grow to be between 30 and 40 cm (12 and 16 in) long, including the short tail, and weigh between 0.5 and 1.5 kilograms (1 and 3 lb). Sexual dimorphism in body mass in the prairie dog varies 105 to 136% between the sexes. Among the species, black-tailed prairie dogs tend to be the least sexually dimorphic, and white-tailed prairie dogs tend to be the most sexually dimorphic. Sexual dimorphism peaks during weaning, when the females lose weight and the males start eating more, and is at its lowest when the females are pregnant, which is also when the males are tired from breeding.
Wikipedia


Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum

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