Thursday, December 6, 2012

Tortoise Provides Homes for 400 Species


New high-tech imaging equipment reveals gopher tortoise burrows provide safe havens for an amazing array of other creatures.

All burrows can provide protection from weather and safety from predators. But because the reptile’s tunnels can be nearly 70 feet long and more than 20 feet deep, and often are found in fire-prone habitats, they may be particularly attractive to many creatures.

Explorations into this hidden biome date back to 1894, when a Florida entomologist excavated a burrow and found a trove of life-forms. Since then, the number of animal species collected from active or abandoned tortoise burrows has grown to about 400, and evidence suggests some of the creatures would suffer greatly if the tunnels vanished. Read the entire article.

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