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Life Underground

The Biology of Subterranean Rodents

Many mammals like to dig in the dirt, but few call it home. Those that do, such as mole-rats, zokors, and tuco-tucos, have developed novel adaptations to their subterranean life, including bones and muscles modified for efficient digging and ways to "see" underground without using their eyes. These unusual traits, adopted independently by unrelated groups around the world, also make subterranean rodents fascinating subjects for biologists.

Life Underground provides the first comprehensive review of the biology of subterranean rodents. Arranged by topic rather than by taxon to facilitate cross-species comparisons, chapters cover such subjects as morphology, physiology, social behavior, genetic variation, and evolutionary diversification. Two main questions run throughout the book. First, to what extent has subterranean life shaped the biology of these animals, leading to similar adaptations among otherwise dissimilar species? Second, how have the distinct evolutionary histories of these groups led to different solutions to the challenges posed by life underground?

457 pages | 43 line drawings, 31 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2000

Biological Sciences: Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Physiology, Biomechanics, and Morphology

Table of Contents

E. A. Lacey, J. L. Patton, and G. N. Cameron
Part One: Organismal Biology
1. Morphology of Subterranean Rodents
Barbara R. Stein
2. Ecophysiological Responses of Subterranean Rodents to Underground Habitats
Rochelle Buffenstein
3. Sensory Capabilities and Communication in Subterranean Rodents
Gabriel Francescoli
4. Reproduction in Subterranean Rodents
Nigel C. Bennett, Chris C. Faulkes, and Andrew J. Molteno
Part Two: Population and Community Ecology
5. Population Ecology of Subterranean Rodents
Cristina Busch, C. Daniel Antinuchi, J. Cristina del Valle, Marcelo J. Kittlein, Ana I. Malizia, Aldo I. Vassallo, and Roxana R. Zenuto
6. Community Ecology of Subterranean Rodents
Guy N. Cameron
7. Spatial and Social Systems of Subterranean Rodents
Eileen A. Lacey
Part Three: Evolutionary Biology
8. Genetic Structure and the Geography of Speciation in Subterranean Rodents: Opportunities and Constraints for Evolutionary Diversification
Eleanor K. Steinberg and James L. Patton
9. Paleontology, Phylogenetic Patterns, and Macroevolutionary Processes in Subterranean Rodents
Joseph A. Cook, Enrique P. Lessa, and Elizabeth A. Hadly
10. Coevolution and Subterranean Rodents
Mark S. Hafner, James W. Demastes, and Theresa A. Spradling
11. The Evolution of Subterranean Rodents: A Synthesis
Enrique P. Lessa
List of Contributors
Taxonomic Index
Subject Index

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