Holarctic Marmots as a factor of Biodiversity.
Abstracts of the
3d Conference on Marmots (Cheboksary, Russia, 25-30 August 1997), Moscow ABF 1997, 216p.


N.L. Panchenko, A.V. Dimitriev, L.V. Egorov

Chuvash Republic, Cheboksary , Russia

Tsivilsk basic colony of bobacs of the Chuvash Republic was formed by means of bringing and settling 120 bobacs by the hunting department in 1988. It is situated in the neighbourhood of the village Nizhnie Kibeksi. The colony is kept under control by members of the district society of hunters and fishermen.

The colony is on the slope of the SSO exposure of the first terrase of the river B. Tsivil. At the top of the slope there is a cereal field and at the bottom there is a swampy lowland (in dry spring - a marshy meadow). During the vegetation period a flock of cattle (about 20 head) and sheep (25-30) constantly graze on the colony's territory. Bobacs occupy the middle, lower parts of the slope and partially a field with perennial grass. One can see well the paths laid by bobacs from their holes in all directions: to the field, along the slope, to the lowland.

The complex studies of the given colony are in their early stages. There were published only some fragmentary pieces of information (Dimitriev, 1993 a,b; Dimitriev et al., 1994; Dimitriev, 1996; Dimitriev et al., 1996; Egorov, 1996; Panchenko, 1997).

In 1995-1996 count of holes was kept by students-biologists during the thorough examination of all the colony's territory. Three kinds holes were taken into account: 1) habitable, 2) uninhabitable (the entrance is covered with cobweb and partially overgrown with vegetation), 3) having been started (the hole's bottom is visible). The results of the counts are as follows:

Kinds of holes

Most of the holes are found in the middle part of the colony where there are more cereals and clover. It's exactly here the maximum number of bobacs has always been registered - 4-5 families at the same time (by 4 young species near one hole). In 1995 about 19 families were marked, in 1996 - 20-22, in 1997 - 37 families. This year during the count 84 bobacs have been noticed at the same time.

The head of the district hunting department and the chairman of the district comittee of nature protection ascertained that in 1991 the colony numbered 15 families, 9 of them with brood; 55 bobacs were counted, 26 of them - born this year. In 1996, 27 families, 87 ex. were registered, 35 of them born this year.

On the basis of the processed material of 1996-1997 there have been got some data about beetles-coprobionts and nidikols of the bobacs' colony. The beetles were chosen out of holes' tops, from the excrements of outside "lavatories". As a result representatives of 5 families have been revealed:
Carabidae, Staphylinidae, Histeridae (Margarinotus silantjevi Schir.), Hydrophilidae (Cercyon melanocephalus L.), Scarabaeidae (Onthophagus semicornis Pz., O. fracticornis Preyssl., Aphodius melanostictus W.Schm., A. distinctus Mull., A. prodromus Brahm., A. rotundangulus Rtt., A. ictericus Laich., A. granarius L.). M. silantjevi is a typical nidicol (pholeophil). A. rotundangulus is a facultative nidikol, the specialized utilizer of bobacs and gophers' excrements. The greatest number of coprophagous was marked in April. As the usual for their nutrition excrements of domestic cattle are absent in this period, beetles actively utilize bobacs' ones.

In 1997 mapping of vegetation microgrouping on the butans was started. Out of birds every year the Oenanthe oenanthe (L.) was seen on the colony's territory, and on the lowland - Vanellus vanellus (L.). In 1995 in the washed-out pit on the slope there were remains of fossil ammonites discovered.

Through observation the following facts of negative influence on the colony have been discovered: flooding of separate holes with thawed water in 1989, 1997, a wash-out of a large family hole by a downpour in 1996, yearly attempts catching bobacs with the help of homemade traps, an excavation of hole at the end of 1996, ploughing up of three family holes in 1991.

The counts kept in 1991, 1995-97, showed that Tsivilsk basic colony of bobacs can be considered one of the thriving in Chuvashia. It gave a start to several offspring colonies. By the present moment such have been registered near the village Pervoe Semenovo (appeared in 1993, 2 families were marked), near the village Tuvsi (appeared in 1996, 1 family) of Tsivilsk district and on the territory of Krasnoarmeisk district (6 families) of the Chuvash Republic.

Retour au sommaire / Back to Abstracts contents