, Volume 60, Issue 2, pp 259–263 | Cite as

Laboratory studies of seed size and seed species selection by heteromyid rodents

  • Mary V. Price
Original Papers


There have been conflicting reports in the last decade on the extent to which coexisting heteromyid rodent species select different sizes or species of seeds. Here I report results of laboratory choice experiments that show heteromyids of different size and genus to have similar preferences for wheat particles of various sizes, and for commercially available seed species that differ considerably in nutritional and morphological characteristics. I also discuss the significance of this finding for mechanisms of coexistence in natural communities.


Morphological Characteristic Laboratory Study Seed Size Natural Community Choice Experiment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Bowers MA, Brown JH (1982) Body size and coexistence in desert rodents: Chance or community structure? Ecology 63:391–400Google Scholar
  2. Brown JH, Leiberman GA (1973) Resource utilization and coexistence of seed eating rodents in sand dune habitats. Ecology 54:788–797Google Scholar
  3. Brown JH (1973) Species diversity of seed-eating desert rodents in sand dune habitats. Ecology 54:775–787Google Scholar
  4. Brown JH, Davidson DW, Reichman OJ (1979) An experimental study of competition between seed-eating desert rodents and ants. Amer Zool 19:1129–1143Google Scholar
  5. Frye RJ, Rosenzweig ML (1980) Clump size selection: a field test with two species of Dipodomys. Oecologia (Berlin) 47:323–327Google Scholar
  6. Krebs JR (1978) Optimal foraging: decision rules for predators. In: Krebs JR, Davies NB (eds) Behavioral ecology, an evolutionary approach, Sinauer Associates, Sunderland, MassachusettsGoogle Scholar
  7. M'Closley RT (1980) Spatial patterns in sizes of seeds collected by four species of heteromyid rodents. Ecology 61:486–489Google Scholar
  8. Mares MA, Williams DF (1977) Experimental support for food particle size resource allocation in heteromyid rodents. Ecology 58:1186–1190Google Scholar
  9. Lockard RB, Lockard JS (1971) Seed preference and buried seed retrieval of D. deserti. J Mammal 52:219–222Google Scholar
  10. Lemen C (1978) Seed size selection in heteromyids: a second look. Oecologia (Berlin) 35:13–19Google Scholar
  11. O'Connell MA (1979) Coexistence of two species of kangaroo rats (genus Dipodomys) in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. In: Genoways HH, Baker RJ (eds) Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. National Park Service, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  12. Phillips DA (1979) Guidebook to nutritional factors in foods. Woodbridge Press, Santa Barbara, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  13. Price MV (1978a) Seed dispersion preferences of coexisting desert rodent species. J Mammal 59:624–626Google Scholar
  14. Price MV (1978b) The role of microhabitat in structuring desert rodent communities. Ecology 59:910–921Google Scholar
  15. Price MV (1981) Body size and patch choice in desert rodents: a model for searching predators. Bull Ecol Soc Amer 62:109Google Scholar
  16. Price MV (1983) Ecological consequence of body size: a model for patch choice in desert rodents. Oecologia (Berlin) (in press)Google Scholar
  17. Price MV, Brown JH (1983) Patterns of morphology and resource use in North American desert rodent communities. Great Basin Naturalist Memoirs # 7 (in press)Google Scholar
  18. Pullium HR (1975) Diet optimization under nutrient constraints. Amer Natur 109:765–768Google Scholar
  19. Pyke GH, Pulliam HR, Charnov EL (1977) Optimal foraging: a selective review of theory and tests. Quart Rev Biol 52:137–154Google Scholar
  20. Reichman OJ (1975) Relation of desert rodent diets to available resources. J Mammal 56:731–751Google Scholar
  21. Reichman OJ (1976) Relationships between dimensions, weights, volumes, and calories of some Sonoran Desert seeds. South-western Naturalist 20:573–586Google Scholar
  22. Reichman OJ, Oberstein D (1977) Selection of seed distribution types by Dipodomys merriami and Perognathus amplus. Ecology 58:636–643Google Scholar
  23. Reichman OJ (1981) Factors influencing foraging patterns in desert rodents. In: Kamil A, Sargent T (eds) Foraging behavior: Ecological, ethological, and psychological approaches. Garland, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. SAS Institute, Inc (1979) SAS User's Guide. Cary, North CarolinaGoogle Scholar
  25. Sokal RR, Rohlf FJ (1981) Biometry, second edition. Freeman, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary V. Price
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaRiversideUSA

Personalised recommendations