Advertisement

Landscape Ecology

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 633–640 | Cite as

Short perceptual range and yet successful invasion of a fragmented landscape: the case of the red-bellied tree squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) in Argentina

  • Lucy J. Bridgman
  • Verónica V. Benitez
  • Maricel Graña Grilli
  • Natalia Mufato
  • Daniela Acosta
  • M. Laura Guichón
Report

Abstract

Dispersal is a key element of the invasion process for introduced species, and is influenced by landscape connectivity. The red-bellied squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) was introduced to Argentina in 1970. Suitable forest habitat for this arboreal species is highly fragmented in a rural–urban matrix, but despite this, the squirrel population has spread. Squirrels disperse into new habitat patches using connective features such as forest corridors. They may also cross gaps but up to what extent is not known. Gap crossing success is influenced by perceptual range, which is the distance from which animals can perceive suitable habitat. Perceptual range has been previously estimated for vulnerable species, but not for introduced species. We used a model relating perceptual range to body mass to predict the perceptual range of the red-bellied tree squirrel in Argentina. We then tested our prediction of 202–221 m by releasing squirrels in an unfamiliar arable field at different distances (300, 200, 100 and 20 m) from woodland habitat. We assumed that if woodland could be perceived, squirrels would orientate toward it. We estimated perceptual range to be between 20 and 100 m, considerably lower than predicted. Our results indicate that squirrels can potentially cross small habitat gaps, but dispersal over greater distances lacking connectivity is less likely. Incorporating this information when modelling the spread of exotic squirrels in the Pampas Region can yield more accurate prediction of the invasion process and guide management practices to minimise their expansion.

Keywords

Dispersal Invasive rodents Landscape connectivity Orientation Translocation experiment 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Dr Fernando Milesi for his valuable input and help with trapping squirrels, Cecilia Gozzi, Lucas Miranda and Laura Messetta for assistance with field trials, the Luján residents who allowed us to trap squirrels on their property, and two anonymous reviewers for their constructive criticism on the manuscript. We also thank The Natural Environment Resources Council (LJB), CONICET (VVB and MLG) and the Universidad de Luján for funding, and Capricorn Ltd. for supplying free fluorescent powder samples vital for tracking squirrel movement.

References

  1. Aprile G, Chicco D (1999) Nueva especie exótica de mamífero en la Argentina: la ardilla de vientre rojo (Callosciurus erythraeus). Mastozool Neotrop 6:7–14Google Scholar
  2. Azuma Y (1998) Nest predation of the Japanese White eye by a Formosan squirrel. Strix 16:175–176Google Scholar
  3. Bárbaro NO (1994) Perfil ambiental de la Argentina. XIX Asamblea General de la Unión Internacional para la Conservación de la Naturaleza, Buenos AiresGoogle Scholar
  4. Batschelet E (1981) Circular statistics in biology. Academic Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  5. Bélisle M (2005) Measuring landscape connectivity: the challenge of behavioral landscape ecology. Ecology 86:1988–1995CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Benitez VV, Gozzi AC, Borgnia M, Almada Chávez S, Messetta ML, Clos Clos G, Guichón ML (2010) La ardilla de vientre rojo en Argentina: investigación y educación, puntos clave para el manejo de una especie invasora. In: Invasiones Biológicas: avances 2009 (GEIB Grupo Especialista en Invasiones Biológicas, ed.). G.E.I.B. Serie Técnica N.4. Imprenta El Ejido, León, pp 255–260Google Scholar
  7. Bertolino S (2009) Animal trade and non-indigenous species introduction: the world-wide spread of squirrels. Divers Distrib 15:701–708CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Browne MA, Bowers DR (2004) Interpatch movements in spatially structured populations: a literature review. Landscape Ecol 19:1–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Cassini GH, Guichón ML (2009) Variaciones morfológicas y diagnosis de la ardilla de vientre rojo, Callosciurus erythraeus (Pallas, 1779), en Argentina. Mastozool Neotrop 16:39–47Google Scholar
  10. Chou L, Lin Y, Mok H (1985) Study of the maintenance behaviours of the red-bellied tree squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus). Bull Inst Zool Acad Sin 24:39–50Google Scholar
  11. Conradt L, Bodsworth EJ, Roper TJ, Thomas CD (2000) Non-random dispersal in the butterfly Maniola jurtina: implications for metapopulation models. Proc R Soc Lond B 267:1505–1510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Dijkstra V, Overman W, Verbeylen G (2009) Inventarisatie Pallas’ eekhoorn bij Weert. Zoogdiervereniging rapport 2009.21. Zoogdiervereniging, Arnhem, The NetherlandGoogle Scholar
  13. Fisher NI (1993) Statistical analysis of circular data. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Flaherty EA, Smith WP, Pyare S, Ben-David M (2008) Experimental trials of the northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) traversing managed rainforest landscapes: perceptual range and fine-scale movements. Can J Zool 86:1050–1058CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Forero-Medina G, Vieira MV (2009) Perception of a fragmented landscape by neotropical marsupials: effects of body mass and environmental variables. J Trop Ecol 25:53–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Goodwin BJ, Bender DJ, Contreras TA, Fahrig L, Wegner JF (1999) Testing for habitat detection distances using orientation data. Oikos 84:160–163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Guichón ML, Doncaster CP (2008) Invasion dynamics of an introduced squirrel in Argentina. Ecography 31:211–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Guichón ML, Bello M, Fasola L (2005) Expansión poblacional de una especie introducida en la Argentina: la ardilla de vientre rojo Callosciurus erythraeus. Mastozool Neotrop 12:189–197Google Scholar
  19. Hanski I, Gilpin M (1991) Metapopulation dynamics: brief history and conceptual domain. Biol J Linn Soc 42:3–16CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Jouanin C (1986) Une espèce inattendue pour la faune francaise: un écureuil asiatique acclimaté sur le Cap d’Antibes. Rev Ecol 41:107–109Google Scholar
  21. Leibold MA, Holyoak M, Mouquet N, Amarasekare P, Chase JM, Hoopes MF, Holt RD, Shurin JB, Law R, Tilman D, Loreau M, Gonzalez A (2004) The metacommunity concept: a framework for multi-scale community ecology. Ecol Lett 7:601–613CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Lemen CF, Freeman PW (1985) Tracking mammals with fluorescent pigments: a new technique. J Mammal 66:134–136CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Lima SL, Zollner PA (1996) Towards a behavioural ecology of ecological landscapes. Trends Ecol Evol 11:131–135PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Mech SG, Zollner PA (2002) Using body size to predict perceptual range. Oikos 98:47–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Miyamoto A, Tamura N, Sugimura K, Yamada F (2004) Predicting habitat distribution of the alien Formosan Squirrel using logistic regression model. Glob Environ Res 8:13–21Google Scholar
  26. Nathan R, Getz WM, Revilla E, Holyoak M, Kadmon R, Saltz D, Smouse PE (2008) Movement Ecology Special Feature: a movement ecology paradigm for unifying organismal movement research. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105:19052–19059PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Neubert M, Caswell H (2000) Demography and dispersal: calculation and sensitivity analysis of invasion speed for structured populations. Ecology 81:1613–1628CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pe’er G, Kramer-Schadt S (2008) Incorporating the perceptual range of animals into connectivity models. Ecol Model 213:73–85CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pereira J, Haene E, Babarskas M (2003) Mamíferos de la Reserva Natural Otamendi. In: Haene EE, Pereira J (eds) Temas de Naturaleza y Conservación 3: Fauna de Otamendi, Inventario de los animales vertebrados de la Reserva Natural Otamendi, Campana, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Aves Argentinas/AOP, Buenos Aires, pp 115–139Google Scholar
  30. Prevedello JA, Forero-Medina G, Vieira MV (2010) Movement behaviour within and beyond perceptual ranges in three small mammals: effects of matrix type and body mass. J Anim Ecol 79:1315–1323PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Prevedello JA, Forero-Medina G, Vieira MV (2011) Does land use affect perceptual range? Evidence from two marsupials of the Atlantic Forest. J Zool 284:53–59CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Schooley RL, Branch LC (2005) Limited perceptual range and anemotaxis in marsh rats Oryzomys palustris. Acta Theriol 50:59–66CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Setoguchi M (1990) Food habits of red-bellied tree squirrel on a small island in Japan. J Mammal 71:570–578CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Stuyck J (2009) Pallas’s squirrel (Callosciurus erythraeus) introduced in Belgium. Paper presented at the 7th European vertebrate pest management conference. National Veterinary School of Lyon, Marcy l’Etoile, 8–12 September 2009Google Scholar
  35. Tamura N, Hayeshi F, Miyashita K (1989) Spacing and kinship in the Formosan squirrel living in different habitats. Oecologia 79:344–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Taylor PD, Fahrig L, Henein K, Merriam G (1993) Connectivity is a vital element of landscape structure. Oikos 68:571–573CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. RW Thorington Jr, Ferrell K (2006) Squirrels, the animal answer guide. The Johns Hopkins University Press, BaltimoreGoogle Scholar
  38. Tischendorf L, Fahrig L (2000) On the usage and measurement of landscape connectivity. Oikos 90:7–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wiens JA, Stenseth NC, Van Horne B, Ims RA (1993) Ecological mechanisms and landscape ecology. Oikos 66:369–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zollner PA (2000) Comparing the landscape level perceptual abilities of forest sciurids in fragmented agricultural landscapes. Landscape Ecol 15:523–533CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Zollner PA, Lima SL (1997) Landscape-level perceptual abilities in white-footed mice: perceptual range and the detection of forested habitat. Oikos 80:51–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Zollner PA, Lima SL (1999) Illumination and the perception of remote habitat patches by white-footed mice. Anim Behav 58:489–500PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lucy J. Bridgman
    • 1
  • Verónica V. Benitez
    • 2
  • Maricel Graña Grilli
    • 2
  • Natalia Mufato
    • 2
  • Daniela Acosta
    • 2
  • M. Laura Guichón
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesThe University of WaikatoHamiltonNew Zealand
  2. 2.Ecología de Mamíferos Introducidos, Departamento de Ciencias BásicasUniversidad Nacional de Luján LujanArgentina

Personalised recommendations