Diurnal Habitat Use by Lower Keys Marsh Rabbits
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We used radiotelemetry to locate daytime forms of endangered Lower Keys marsh rabbits (LKMRs; Sylvilagus palustris hefneri) throughout their range so we could determine habitat characteristics of diurnal cover. We typically found forms (n = 1,298) of 36 rabbits in brackish wetlands in patches of saltmarsh or buttonwoods. In freshwater wetlands, forms (n = 54) were located most often in patches of freshwater hardwoods embedded in or adjacent to freshwater marshes. Forms (n - 942) in brackish wetlands were characterized by thick groundcover (>75%), whereas those (n = 42) in freshwater wetlands had both thick groundcover and canopy vegetation. The mean minimum convex polygon around forms of 15 rabbits was 1.4 ha (SD = 1.7), with smaller ranges characterized by thick bunchgrasses or dump-forming sedges. To increase the amount of annual space usable by LKMRs, managers should provide more saltmarsh habitat interspersed with buttonwoods and enhance ground cover in existing habitat.
author list (cited authors)
Faulhaber, C. A., Silvy, N. J., Lopez, R. R., Lafever, D. H., Frank, P. A., & Peterson, M. J.