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Reproduction in marginal populations of the hispid cotton rat sigmodon hispidus in northeastern kansas usa



Reproduction in marginal populations of the hispid cotton rat sigmodon hispidus in northeastern kansas usa



Occasional Papers of the Museum of Natural History University of Kansas (74): 1-16



Several aspects of reproduction in S. hispidus from northeastern Kansas [USA] distinguish the populations from others in different parts of the species distribution. In response to a shortened breeding season and a lack of winter breeding, reproductive output in terms of uterine litter size increased to levels not previously reported for the species. Individual reproductive output depends to a large extent on previous reproductive experience, with primiparous females having significantly smaller litters than multiparous females. Both phenomena could be a result of natural selection acting to maximize reproductive success. Reproductive effort has exceeded winter losses on the average, although severe winters probably result in the extinction of some local populations. The end result of these reproductive adjustments is the perpetuation of S. hispidus in temperate regions only recently colonized by the species.

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Accession: 006315705

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