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Nest-Site Selection by Abert's Squirrel: Chemical Characteristics of Nest Trees

Marc A. Snyder and Yan B. Linhart
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 75, No. 1 (Feb., 1994), pp. 136-141
DOI: 10.2307/1382245
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1382245
Page Count: 6
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Nest-Site Selection by Abert's Squirrel: Chemical Characteristics of Nest Trees
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Abstract

Physical and chemical characteristics of 25 nest trees of Sciurus aberti were examined in an old-growth, ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) forest in northern Arizona. These characteristics were compared with control trees and with physical and chemical features of trees used by the squirrels as preferred sources of inner bark. Nest-site selection by Abert's squirrels was associated with specific chemical features of the phloem and xylem of nest trees. The phloem of nest trees had lower concentrations of copper, iron, and silicon, and higher levels of sodium and nonstructural carbohydrates than phloem of control trees. Percentage composition of α-pinene was lower in xylem oleoresin collected from nest trees than in oleoresin from control trees. Most nests were constructed in larger ponderosa pines, on the south to east side of the bole. Discriminant-function analysis based solely on chemical characteristics of phloem correctly classified 90.6% of the trees used in the analysis as either a nest tree or a control tree, suggesting that tree chemistry plays a role in nest-site selection by this species.

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