This study examines the behavioral mechanisms underlying changes in the time allocation patterns of black‐tailed prairie dog (Sciuridae: Cynomys ludovicianus) pups. Previous analyses of time budgets had revealed substantial differences between pups (young of the year) and adults, and that pup time budgets changed significantly over time. This paper shows that these differences were due to two mechanisms: pups generally differed from adults in the frequency of performance of different behaviors; however, changes in pup behavior over time were due to changes in both bout frequencies and durations. Other influences on bout durations were also examined. Time of day dramatically affected the duration of most behaviors, with vigilance bouts longest in the morning and feeding bouts longest in the evening. The presence of a pup's mother above ground and the height of the vegetation a pup was in had much less influence on bout durations. Multiple regression analyses were used to identify other potential influences (e.g., weather and social conditions) on bout lengths. Of these, the distance of a pup from the nearest burrow produced the strongest relationships.
Ethology – Wiley
Published: Jan 12, 1993
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