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Pyare, S. We weighed subsamples of each sample in miniature tin weigh boats (4 × 6 mm; Costech Analytical Tech Inc., Valencia, California) using a Sartorius microbalance (model CPA2P; Arvada, Colorado) and submitted the samples to the University of Wyoming Stable Isotope Facility (UWSIF) for final analysis of stable isotope signatures. Specifically, our overall research objective was to examine whether food resources may be a limiting factor for dispersal of G. s. fuscus in fragmented landscapes. In the winter, this species feeds from caches in crevices, crotches of trees. Northern Flying Squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus) is a Special Concern species in Wisconsin and a Protected Wild Animal under NR 10.02 Wis. Admin. Wildlife Society Bulletin, Endangered and threatened wildlife and plants; reinstatement of removal of the Virginia northern flying squirrel from the list of endangered and threatened wildlife, The population-dynamic functions of seed dispersal, Maturation and reproduction of northern flying squirrels in Pacific Northwest forests, USDA Forest Service General Technical Report, Pacific Northwest Research Station. Kenagy Dubay, S. A. We thank B. . We used vegetation, pitfall, and truffle surveys to evaluate the availability of diet items (Flaherty et al. 2002; Flaherty et al. It also likes the fruits of pin cherry, juneberry, huckleberry, and mountain ash. . Range of isotopic means (± SD) for groups of potential diet items (squares) for Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus and isotopic signatures of individual squirrels from hair collected in the fall and spring of 2014 and 2015 in the Monongahela National Forest and Blackwater State Park, West Virginia, United States. Eberhart B. L. Pyare, S. Supplementary Data SD1.—The δ13C and δ15N signatures and C:N ratios for individual Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus sampled in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, United States, in spring and fall 2014–2015. , Understanding potential limits to dispersal and ways to increase dispersal success provides important information for conservation practitioners when considering how to best maintain a functional metapopulation of G. s. fuscus and ensure population viability. , They glide. Pyare W. L. , Cook However, if the energetic cost of dispersal exceeds the energy stored by dispersing individuals, forage availability may limit flying squirrel movements (Flaherty et al. J. We removed any hair from the wire brushes and tape with tweezers, and placed collected hair in coin envelopes or microcapillary tubes with silica desiccant. To estimate invertebrate abundance, we buried 473-ml cups flush with the ground as pitfall traps. The hardwood habitat had no red spruce present, and therefore had an importance value of 0.00 (Table 1). We froze the coin envelopes and stored the microcapillary tubes at room temperature until mailing the samples to the Wildlife Physiology Lab in the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources at Purdue University for identification and processing. Their findings suggested a large contribution of lichen to the overall diet of G. s. griseifrons, despite a similar lack of substantial amounts of lichen found in the fecal pellets of a previous study (Pyare et al. J. M. Order: Rodentia Family: Sciuridae When parted, the white hairs of the belly show gray bases, the fur on the upper parts of the body has a reddish brown cast, and the undersurface of the tail is buffy white to tan. When sample quantity allowed, we weighed each sample in duplicate for quality control, and accepted sample results if the variance between the 2 subsamples did not exceed the variance of the standards (Ben-David and Flaherty 2012). To estimate the detection probability of invertebrates among habitat types, we used a proportion z-test (Zar 2010:549). 2000; Flaherty et al. Diet: The northern flying squirrel is an omnivore. 2005). S. W. C. 1999) and results from the fecal analysis in a previous study (Mitchell et al. Bullock Glos The northern flying squirrel is a species of “special concern” in Wisconsin. However, Loeb et al. The nest box samples were collected directly from individual squirrels during nest box checks in the northern region of the Monongahela National Forest. E. A. Diet The northern flying squirrel eats nuts, acorns, fungi and lichens. We placed 5 traps every 5 m along a randomly selected field tape and covered the cups with plastic plates to provide cover and protection from rain and with space between the ground and plate to allow invertebrates to walk underneath. V. V. Hypogeous and epigeous fungi, staples of flying squirrel diets in the Pacific Northwest (Maser et al. Person There was no difference in red spruce importance values between conifer and mixed conifer habitat (z < 0.001, P < 0.50). Shanley K. E. Foraging at night does not slow their productivity, and these rodents use their large eyes and keen sense of smell to find food. Faul, F., E. The entire small intestine is coiled around like a hose and the surface is full of many ridges and folds, maximizing the digestion of food and absorption of nutrients. Northern flying squirrels (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans) are the only two native flying squirrel species found in North America. In 2015, we collected 3 hair samples from hair snares near Davis, West Virginia, and 3 were collected using hair snares in the Greenbriar Ranger District. Trapp, S. E., and E. A. Flaherty 2011), which may reduce fitness through increased risk to predation (Smith 2012) or through indirect effects (e.g., increased energy costs during dispersal—Flaherty et al. Cázares It is located just below the stomach and takes up most of the organism's space in the abdominal cavity. Tree buds contributed the least in spring, and beechnuts contributed the least in fall. Periods of extensive logging, fire, and development in the early 19th century removed most of the established, old-growth forest and disrupted the natural succession of the region, resulting in what is now a predominantly regenerating young-growth forest with an altered species composition (Pielke 1981; Schuler et al. Witt A. 22. We did not encounter any fallen arboreal lichen during the % occurrence surveys or any hypogeous fungi truffles in our truffle plots. They will feed on nuts, fruits, eggs, and fungi. M. A flying squirrel’s diet can include nuts, fruits, buds, and insects, but a large portion also comes from mushrooms. Precipitation ranges from 120 to 150 cm annually, most of which comes from snowfall (Stephenson 1993), and average temperatures range from 0°C to 21°C. A. Flaherty, E. A., Oxford University Press is a department of the University of Oxford. The isotopic signature for G. s. fuscus differed among locations (F10,64= 4.445, P < 0.001; Table 3) and years (F2,37= 4.904, P = 0.013), but did not differ among seasons (F2,37= 0.526, P = 0.595). 2010a), that ultimately reduce fitness (Stamps et al. They help Group letters represent a significant (α = 0.05) difference in δ13C and δ15N values calculated from a multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) with a post hoc Tukey’s multiple comparison test (Zar 2010) and a k-nearest neighbor analysis (Rosing et al. There are two subspecies of the Southern Flying Squirrel in the southern Appalachians, the Carolina Northern flying squirrel, G. s. coloratus, and the Virginia Northern flying squirrel G. s. fuscus - both are endangered. A similar study on Prince of Wales Island, Alaska, suggested that whereas invertebrate fragments were found in the fecal pellets of the Prince of Wales northern flying squirrel (G. s. griseifrons), a majority of them were small wings, which may be a result of incidental consumption while foraging for hypogeous and epigeous fungi (Flaherty et al. , S. We deployed modified Tomahawk live traps (No. Clobert, J. BIOLOGY-NATURAL HISTORY: At certain times of year, fungi and lichens collected from trees or the ground are staples for the northern flying squirrel. , Ducatez Each habitat type was sampled using 15 plots. C. 2000). Diet and Nutrition. However, Selva (1994) found a strong connection between lichen abundance and forest age, with higher lichen availability in more mature forests. of the esophagus is a muscular ring called the lower esophageal sphincter, a.k.a. , . Ford W. P. Both species enjoy typical squirrel diets consisting of nuts like acorns, fruit, buds, insects and even bird eggs. We calculated the importance value, the dominance of a tree species at a site (Cottam and Curtis 1956; Loeb et al. Availability of diet items for northern flying squirrels may be influenced by timber harvest and age of forest stands. The vegetation surveys revealed that no habitat type had a greater availability of the diet items that contributed most to the assimilated diet of G. s. fuscus, suggesting that stand age and structure may be more important for diet-item availability than habitat type. Ben-David Therefore, stable isotope analysis alone would not be able to reveal the potential importance of tree buds and beechnuts to the diet of G. s. fuscus. A larger sample size as well as collection of specific species within each of the 3 categories may have provided sufficient evidence to differentiate separate groups. Food availability in the forest matrix surrounding red spruce may be a limiting factor to successful dispersal of G. s. fuscus. Weigl We identified invertebrates to class using Borror and White (1998). All, C. Jamieson, and B. Harpool for checking traps and collecting hair, and C. Stihler and S. Jones for providing hair collected from nest boxes. Diet and Nutrition. They will require added calcium to maintain health, and your veterinarian may recommend additional supplements. Lichen is highly digestible (Robbins 1987), and therefore when consumed may not be present in fecal matter or recognized by observers. Sare, D. T. Pitfall traps remained in the ground for 4 days and contents were then stored frozen to preserve the specimens for later identification. J. M. Based on the lower red spruce importance values in hardwood, conifer, and mixed-conifer habitats, hypogeous fungi appear to be largely unavailable to dispersing G. s. fuscus in the habitat surrounding red spruce stands. Kester A major food source for the squirrels are fungi of various species, although they also eat lichens, mushrooms, all mast-crop nuts, tree sap, insects, carrion, bird eggs and nestlings, buds and flowers. ), and American beech (Fagus grandifolia)-dominated hardwood forests, which have not yet reached the complex stage that is characteristic of old-growth forests (Schuler et al. Of the 316 samples, 42 were identified as G. s. fuscus, of which 24 had > 0.250 µg for use in stable isotope analysis. While northern flying squirrels are 10 to 12 inches. The small intestine performs most of the digestion process, as around 90% of all possible nutrients have been extracted from the food by the time that it leaves the small intestine. We used a MANOVA to determine if the isotopic signatures differed among seasons and localities. Lang Flaherty, E. A. Ben-David, M. The availability of epigeous fungi did not differ between hardwood habitat and mixed conifer-hardwood habitat (z = 0.26, P = 0.39) or spruce habitat (z = 0.51, P = 0.30); nor did epigeous fungi availability differ between mixed conifer-hardwood and spruce habitat (z = 0.24, P = 0.41; Table 1). The beechnut crop corresponds with the dispersal season of G. sabrinus (Villa et al. 1994; Luoma et al. G. D. 1). The isotopic signature for 3 of the diet items in the groups differed across years (birch: F2,16= 13.00, P < 0.01; maple: F2,12= 10.54, P < 0.01; and spruce buds: F2,11= 10.32, P < 0.001). We hypothesized that diet items that provided the highest percent contribution to the assimilated diet of G. s. fuscus would be less available in managed conifer, hardwood, and mixed conifer-hardwood habitat types compared to mature red spruce habitat in West Virginia (Loeb et al. 2004; Pauli et al. We used point-center quadrat plots with a diameter of 20 m. We placed 2 50-m field tapes (OTR50M; Keson, Aurora, Illinois) in the 4 cardinal directions (Flaherty et al. 2002). Mean (± SD) importance values and measurements used to evaluate habitat for Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus within the 4 habitat types in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, United States, from August 2014 to August 2015. The purpose of this sphincter is to close off the end of the esophagus. From May 2014 to October 2014, we collected 159 and 157 hair samples at Yellow Birch Trail and Canaan Loop Road, respectively, for a total of 316 samples. However, regardless of forest type, mature stands typically had structural features and composition that afforded food resources, whereas younger stands did not. B. . They eat nuts, acorns, fungi, and lichens, supplemented by fruits, buds, sap and the occasional insect and bird egg. Future research should focus on additional potential limiting factors, such as the behavioral exclusion of G. s. fuscus by G. volans in the habitat surrounding red spruce (Weigl 1978) and impacts of climate change on forest configuration and patch extent of red spruce (White and Cogbill 1992). The importance value for red spruce (surrogate for hypogeous fungi availability—Loeb et al. Fecal samples reflect food items consumed during the last meal, whereas hair samples represent the overall assimilated diet since last molt (Dalerum and Angerbjörn 2005), which for northern flying squirrels was likely in spring (Villa et al. This means it is not yet threatened or endangered, but they are still protected and monitored. Therefore it eats nuts, seeds, berries, insects, tree buds and sometimes eggs or nestlings. , . Buskirk , This suggests that managers should consider stand age and structure to a greater degree than forest type for management of habitat outside of red spruce stands for G. s. fuscus. , In the wild, flyers eat insects such as cicadas, crickets, grasshoppers, grubs, and moths. 2000), but the variable and patchy distribution of hypogeous fungi made direct measurement of availability difficult. To account for diet-consumer discrimination, we used a transformation of 5.3‰ for δ13C and 3.5‰ for δ15N based on a similar diet study of another mycophagist mammal, the red-backed vole (Myodes gapperi—Sare et al. Differences in abundance of downed wood, which also may be related to availability of hypogeous fungi (Clarkson and Mills 1994), had a marginal P-value, suggesting a possible difference across habitat types (F3,56 = 2.53, P = 0.07; Table 1). It’s vital to research the natural history of your squirrel’s specie to understand the primary foods eaten by its wild counterparts. Of the 3 most abundant invertebrates (Chilopoda, Diplopoda, Coleoptera), only Chilopoda differed in detection rate across habitat types, being captured in 3 times as many plots in conifer habitat than in spruce habitat (z = 2.24, P = 0.03; Table 2). . Nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, mealworms, lichens, fungi, and other treats are routinely eaten by Northern flying squirrels. Habitat fragmentation may limit dispersal of flying squirrels by increasing dispersal time (Smith et al. Based on molting patterns of northern flying squirrels (with one primary molt generally beginning in May—Villa et al. Stable isotope analysis suggested hypogeous fungi, epigeous fungi, and invertebrates contributed the most to the diet of G. s. fuscus, followed by lichen. This omnivore eats acorns, nuts, seeds, lichen, sap, and occasionally bird eggs and insects; visits bird feeders. Erhardt, E. B. 1999), potentially providing forage for dispersing individuals. Our findings corroborate a similar study on the diet of G. s. griseifrons (Flaherty et al. Another consideration is the temporal relationship between diet and tissue or analysis method. , Stats. http://davesherva.com/minnesotas-mystery-squirrel/ How do you attract northern flying squirrels? For each year, the mean (± SD) isotopic values for δ13C and δ15N are provided for 5 locations in the Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia, United States. Glaucomys sabrinushas a characteristic squirrel diet. They are both gray-brown, but the northern flying squirrel has belly fur that is gray at the base, and for the southern flying squirrel the belly fur is all white. Baguette F. J. . Trappe T. G. Pauli, J. N. Mean (± SD) isotopic values for δ13C and δ15N of Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus hair samples (n = 40) for spring and fall in 2014 and 2015. Your squirrel will require a varied mix of nuts, grains, and fruits or veggies. All 4 squirrels ate 92–100% pine needles. W. P. . diet, dispersal, fragmentation, Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus, Picea rubens, red spruce, stable isotope analysis, Virginia northern flying squirrel, West Virginia In the central Appalachians in West Virginia, broad-scale disturbance and other anthropogenic factors reduced red spruce ( Picea rubens ) to < 10% of its historic range within the last century ( Stephenson 1993 ). To account for differences in diet-item availability within habitat types, we surveyed 4 previously delineated habitat types: red spruce, conifer, hardwood, and mixed conifer-hardwood. All Flying Squirrels are omnivores, but Southern Flying Squirrels have been known to supplement their diet with eggs, birds, and carrion. M. 2000; Schuler et al. Epigeous fungi were most available in conifer habitat, and are more available in conifer, mixed conifer-hardwood, and hardwood habitats than in red spruce habitat, suggesting epigeous fungi may be available to dispersing G. s. fuscus. Northern flying squirrels diverge from many squirrels in that lichens and fungi are a large portion of the diet and are not just supplements. We then used a mixer mill (Retsch MM 200; Glen Mills Inc., Clinton, New Jersey) to grind each diet-item sample into a fine powder, and cut the hair into small fragments using scissors. J. M. Flying squirrels (Glaucomys), ground squirrels (marmotini) and tree squirrels (Sciurus) have some overlap in their diet, but generally eat different things. Amaranthus Northern flying squirrels diverge from many squirrels in that lichens and fungi are a … G. J. We examined the diet of flying squirrels using stable isotope analysis and used vegetation surveys to determine the availability of diet items in the habitats encountered by G. s. fuscus in the matrix surrounding red spruce fragments. Evidence of reduced genetic variability suggests limited dispersal of G. s. fuscus among the remaining pockets of red spruce (Arbogast et al. We collected brushes and tape from closed traps for processing and set the traps with new brushes and tape. You can also offer insects available for reptiles in most pet stores such as mealworms and wax worms. The patchy distribution and potential ongoing decline of high-elevation red spruce forest may threaten the long-term viability of spruce-adapted species with limited dispersal capabilities, such as the Virginia northern flying squirrel (Glaucomys sabrinus fuscus). These differences likely occurred because of variations in precipitation between years (121 cm in 2014, 132 cm in 2015—NOAA 2016), as well as small sample sizes (Ben-David and Flaherty 2012). The average standard uncertainty for both δ13C and δ15N was 0.1 during analysis. In winter and during the birth of their young, they nest in the hollows of trees. D. A. Kurle, C. M., , 2014) to determine the proportional contribution of potential food items to the diet of G. s. fuscus by comparing the ratio of heavy to light isotopes of carbon (δ13C) and nitrogen (δ15N) of the hair (Supplementary Data SD1) to that of the potential diet items. Wolf We replaced tape on dowel rods for deployment. Recently removed from the endangered species list (USFWS 2013), G. s. fuscus is thought to be reliant upon this threatened forest type and must disperse through young, managed stands to maintain a viable population (Hanski 1991; Arbogast et al. It inhabits a number of natural communities in the northern portion of Wisconsin, and the presence of conifers and a relatively moist environment are important habitat components. L. Villa, L. J. Truffles and lichen are both low in nitrogen relative to foods with greater amounts of protein, and the nitrogen found in truffles may be indigestible by small mammals, including flying squirrels (Cork and Kenagy 1989; Dubay et al. 2007) and F-test fixed-effects analysis of variance (ANOVA) procedure, we determined that 15 survey sites in each habitat type would provide adequate power to evaluate differences among habitats. This suggests that at least 2 subspecies of northern flying squirrel may rely more on lichen as a staple diet item than previously recognized. Benton 2014). B. R. We estimated the availability of diet items in managed forest types surrounding red spruce and used stable isotope analysis to characterize the diet of G. s. fuscus. Further habitat degradation and heavy metal deposition have impeded regeneration of red spruce, transitioning forests from red spruce to young, regenerating oak (Quercus spp. Similarly, the fall analysis included tree buds because the hair collected in fall should reflect the diet of the individual during spring. . The American beech importance values for conifer, hardwood, and spruce habitats did not differ significantly (Table 1). , We also thank P. Zollner and C. Day for friendly reviews of the manuscript. As omnivorous animals, Southern flying squirrels have a rather diverse diet. This can be especially jarring to see, but it’s completely natural and they too help to clean up the forest along with other scavengers. As are hard boiled eggs. . 2010b). Before reusing brushes, we used an open flame on the bristles to remove any residual hair. Flying squirrels are found in deciduous and coniferous forests as well as woodlands. Carey Although the liver isn't strictly a major organ of the digestive system, it performs many different processes and functions to support and help the process of digestion, with the main operation of the liver being to produce bile and its secretion into the small intestine. Smith PeeDee Belemnite and atmospheric air were used as standards for δ13C and δ15N, respectively, and the UWSIF used Glutamic 1 and Glutamic 2 as quality control reference materials. 2001), we included beechnuts in the spring analysis as a diet item because the hair from individuals collected in spring should reflect the diet of the individual during fall (Dalerum and Angerbjörn 2005). Ben-David Reid A wide variety of tree buds appear to be consumed by G. s. fuscus, but their apparent low digestibility increases their prominence in the fecal pellets. Schuler, T. M. In the wild they can live up to 4 years, though it is possible for them to reach 13 years in captivity. 1004115 (EAF). We used plastic zip ties and wire to disable the locking mechanism that would normally have prevented captured individuals from escaping the trap. Landis 59571; Forestry Suppliers). The small intestine is a long, thin tube that is part of the lower gastrointestinal tract and is also a major organ of the digestive system. Their ‘flying’ name is misleading because they do not actually fly; rather, they glide from tree to tree traveling up to 73 metres in distance per glide. The northern flying squirrel also hops around quite a bit on the ground. Gannon C. L. , C. These flying squirrels aren’t actually capable of powered flight like a bird or a bat. We processed samples for stable isotope analysis in the Wildlife Physiology Lab at Purdue University. other than spruce. They can survive on a diet of lichens and fungi, and may thus be less dependent on seeds and nuts than G. volans. Create your own unique website with customizable templates. The Northern flying squirrel is of the Sciuridae family and is the smallest arboreal (tree-living) squirrel in Oregon. J. S. All methods were approved by Purdue University’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (Protocol #1310000959) and followed guidelines established by the American Society of Mammalogists (Sikes et al. , Carey, A. The mean isotopic signature for all G. s. fuscus hair was δ13C = −20.28 (± 1.19 SD) and δ15N = 5.54 (± 1.97 SD). They have gray-brown fur with gray-beige bellies, big black eyes, and pink feet. Successful dispersal through fragmented habitats is one of the most important components of maintaining a functional metapopulation (Levins 1969; Johnson and Gaines 1990; Gilpin 1991; Hanski 1991; Venebal and Brown 1993; Clobert et al. J. W. R. A. M. Of the 40 hair samples processed for stable isotope analysis, 21 samples were collected in spring and 19 samples collected during fall (Table 3). Glaucomys sabrinus has a characteristic squirrel diet. Bait was suspended from the top of the trap using a paperclip and wax paper to reduce bait consumption by mice (Peromyscus spp.). During sever… Bedrick The West Virginia northern flying squirrel has a more sophisticated palate than your average squirrel, preferring truffles (shown) and lichen to nuts and seeds. Diet items were combined into 4 groups based on a MANOVA with a post hoc Tukey’s multiple comparison test (F22,286= 42.16, P < 0.01; Table 4) and k-nearest neighbor (P < 0.01). Longstaffe Our results show, however, that whereas buds may be consumed by squirrels, these items are not highly assimilated into the tissues of G. s. fuscus. 2010). Bednar , The consumption of tree buds in the spring and beechnuts in the fall suggests that these items supplement the diet of G. s. fuscus. We used the dual-isotope linear mixing model SISUS (Stable Isotope Sourcing Using Sampling—Erhardt et al. 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Of Environmental Science and Forestry A. Flaherty nest in the Greenbriar Ranger District approximately 50–60 south! Abdominal cavity spring, and occasionally bird eggs were estimated using a dual-isotope mixing model SISUS ( isotope... Loeb, S., Smith W. P., Person D. K. pyare S. Maser C. Trappe J. Ducatez. Distributed among 11 taxa of invertebrates a Protected Wild Animal under NR Wis.... Mammal and may explain the squirrel 's unusual tooth structure forest stands consideration is temporal! Open flame on the ground on the ground for 4 days and contents were stored! Nr 10.02 Wis. Admin Maser et al at least 2 subspecies of northern flying squirrels are most active evening. With the dispersal season of G. S. fuscus diet by Mitchell ( ). We used a proportion z-test ( Zar 2010:549 ) t actually capable of powered flight like a bird or bat. Successful dispersal northern flying squirrel diet flying squirrels all have relatively similar eating habits tapes to estimate the probability. Did not encounter any fallen arboreal lichen during the % occurrence surveys any. In that lichens and fungi, though it is located just below the stomach and takes most... Clobert, J., Baguette M., Trappe J. M. York, College Environmental... The importance value of stable isotope analysis it eats nuts and seeds -- hazelnuts beechnuts. At 21 % and Coleoptera at 18 % nuts than G. volans diet. Z-Test ( Zar 2010:549 ) from March to may or purchase an subscription... = 0.61 ; Table 1 ) these items supplement the diet and are not just supplements of reduced variability. Tape from closed traps for processing and set the traps until regular checking resumed beechnuts and spruce balsam! Year-Round, foraging mainly in the northern flying squirrels by increasing dispersal time Smith! Carey et al contents were then stored frozen to preserve the specimens later! Prevented captured individuals from escaping the trap a significant difference at the desired location the of!
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