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1 December 2011 Distribution of Brachypelma vagans (Theraphosidae) burrows and their characteristics in Belize over two years
Emma M. Shaw, Susan P. Bennett, C. Philip Wheater
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To help to address the paucity of ecological knowledge available for Brachypelma vagans Ausserer 1875, a CITES protected species, we monitored a population in Western Belize for two years to provide data for distribution and dispersal. Despite previous over-collection for the pet trade, the species is locally highly abundant in some areas of Belize. We recorded the distribution, burrow and spider characteristics of B. vagans in 2007 and 2008 at Las Cuevas Research Station, Belize. Population dynamics were compared between years, as was individual location. Over 100 burrows were located in both years; however, previous assumptions that individuals do not move burrows regularly appear negated, since only 12 burrow locations matched between years, suggesting high intra-habitat dispersal. Despite this apparent high level of movement burrows were significantly clumped, to a similar degree, in both years. This movement could be due to disturbances throughout the year, including flooding during the rainy season. Burrow size correlated with individual body size, except in a few juveniles that appear to have opportunistically claimed an empty burrow, accounting for some small animals found in large burrows.

Emma M. Shaw, Susan P. Bennett, and C. Philip Wheater "Distribution of Brachypelma vagans (Theraphosidae) burrows and their characteristics in Belize over two years," The Journal of Arachnology 39(3), 515-518, (1 December 2011).
Received: 11 June 2010; Published: 1 December 2011
population structure
red-rump tarantula
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