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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 94, Issue 1, pp 1–3 | Cite as

Elevation and wind exposure shape the habitat preferences of the Andean cottontail Sylvilagus andinus (Lagomorpha: Leporidae)

  • Luis F. CamachoEmail author
  • Paola Chávez
  • Diego G. Tirira
Short communication

Abstract

Regional and local environmental conditions shape the habitat pbl]References of species. In tropical highlands, the regional effects of elevation and local effects of topography combine to shape environmental conditions and create drastically heterogeneous habitats. This is thought to strongly influence the habitat pbl]References of species in the region at a local level; however, evidence of this hypothesis remains scarce. We studied the habitat pbl]References of the Andean cottontail Sylvilagus andinus (Lagomorpha: Leporidae) in relation to elevation and wind exposure mediated by local topography. We used the presence/absence of the species’ pellets to assess their habitat preference on hillsides protected from versus exposed to high winds between elevations of 3550 and 4150 m a.s.l. Pellets of S. andinus were primarily found at elevations lower than 4000 m and where exposure to wind was reduced. At any given elevation cottontails appear to prefer wind-protected sites over those with greater exposure to high winds. Our results provide useful information for the conservation management of S. andinus and the Andean highland fauna in general.

Keywords

Andes Carchi Province Ecuador Microhabitat Páramo 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis F. Camacho
    • 1
    • 4
    Email author
  • Paola Chávez
    • 2
  • Diego G. Tirira
    • 1
    • 3
  1. 1.Escuela de Ciencias BiológicasPontificia Universidad Católica del EcuadorQuitoEcuador
  2. 2.Escuela de Ciencias Agrícolas y AmbientalesPontificia Universidad Católica del EcuadorIbarraEcuador
  3. 3.Fundación Mamiferos y ConservatiónQuitoEcuador
  4. 4.Department of ZoologyUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada

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