Great Basin Naturalist


The development of black-tailed prairie dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) burrow mounds was monitored for three years. Entrances were flagged at points where a prairie dog was observed digging into the ground (primary entrances, n = 22) and digging out of the ground (secondary entrances, n = 8). In all samples it was observed that primary entrances became dome mounds and secondary entrances crater mounds. It is suggested that, although induced airflow (presently, a popular model) may partly explain the presence of mounds, architectural types (dome vs. crater mounds) are the result of energy constraints associated with building materials that differ at the entrances.