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Citation. Tester, J. R. 1978. Analysis of circadian rhythms of free-ranging mammals. Pages 167-170. Biotelemetry IV, Proceedings international Symposium. 4. Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. [1546 CC]
Abstract. Circadian rhythms of animals have long been of interest to biologists. Data on activity of wild animals living under natural conditions have been mostly anecdotal, whereas detailed information has been obtained from many species in captivity. Analyses of these later data have indicated remarkably precise patterns of activity from day to day. Experimental studies have revealed an endogenous mechanism of timing which persists even in the absence of environmental stimuli. A classic example of both the precision and endogenous nature of such rhythms was provided by DeCoursey in her investigations of flying squirrels (Glaucomys volans). Development of telemetry techniques for monitoring the location of wild animals has made it possible, for the first time, to obtain data on rhythms of many species of vertebrates living under natural conditions for long periods of time. The purpose of this paper is to show how biotelemetry can be used to study activity patterns of free-ranging mammals. Seasonal changes in circadian rhythms in gray squirrels (Sciurus carolinenses) are used to illustrate methods of analyzing the data obtained by biotelemetry.
Keywords. gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, radiotelemetry, circadian rhythms