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Geomys attwateri

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
ANIMALIA CHORDATA MAMMALIA RODENTIA GEOMYIDAE

Scientific Name: Geomys attwateri
Species Authority: Merriam, 1895
Common Name(s):
English Attwater's Pocket Gopher
Synonym(s):
Geomys bursarius Merriam, 1895 subspecies attwateri
Taxonomic Notes: Geomys attwateri previously was regarded as a subspecies of G. bursarius. It was regarded as a distinct species by Tucker and Schmidly (1981), Williams and Cameron (1991), Baker et al. (2003), and Patton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Geomys attwateri, G. breviceps, and G. bursarius cannot be distinguished using external morphological characteristics, but they differ in cytological and biochemical characteristics. Dowler (1989) presented cytogenetic evidence supporting recognition of attwateri as a species distinct from bursarius/breviceps. Ribosomal DNA data also support the specific distinction between G. attwateri and G. breviceps (Davis 1986). Burt and Dowler (1999) examined allozyme variation and found evidence of a narrow zone of hybridization between G. breviceps and G. attwateri, but gene flow appeared to be very restricted.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-06-30
Assessor(s): Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.)
Reviewer(s): Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority) & Chanson, J. (Global Mammal Assessment Team)
Justification:
Listed as Least Concern because it has a relatively large range, it is common, there are no major threats, and its population is not in decline.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species is known from Brazos River in south-central Texas (Milam and Burleson counties) south along the west bank of the Brazos River to the Gulf Coast (Matagorda County), southwest along the coast beyond Rockport (Aransas and San Patricio counties), and northwestward to Atacosa County (Williams and Cameron 1991).
Countries:
Native:
United States (Texas)
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Attwater's pocket gopher is common within its range (NatureServe). Population densities can range from 11 to 43 individuals per hectare (Williams and Cameron 1991).
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: They are found in sandy soils of bunchgrass and annual forb community (Williams and Cameron 1984, Cameron et al. 1988), they also occur in silty clay loam soils and in habitat dominated by annual plants. They are fossorial, rarely occurring above ground. The diet is generalized and is composed mainly of grasses and forbs, of which they take above and below ground portions in equal amounts. Breeding occurs between October and June with females giving birth to an average of two young per litter and may have more than one litter per season. The burrows of this pocket gopher do not follow the linear patterns of similar species, but instead are convoluted, often criss-crossing an area.

Radio telemetry indicated activity throughout day in May, but they spent more than 60% of the day in nest area (Cameron et al. 1988). Pocket gophers are ecologically important as prey items and in influencing soils, microtopography, habitat heterogeneity, diversity of plant species, and primary productivity (Huntly and Inouye 1988).
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats to the species throughout its range. It is often viewed as a pest species. Gophers eat crops, their burrows lessen soil stability and the mounds of soil created at the openings of burrows destroy underlying vegetation. Because of this they are often targets of trapping and rodenticide.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Some populations are protected within the Welder Wildlife Refuge of Texas.

Citation: Linzey, A.V. & NatureServe (Hammerson, G.) 2008. Geomys attwateri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 22 November 2014.
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