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Burrowing And Walking Mechanisms Of North American Moles, Yi-Fen Lin
Moles (Family Talpidae) are a classic example of extreme specialization, in their case highly derived forelimb morphologies associated with burrowing. Despite many observations of mole burrows and behaviors gathered in the field, we know very little about how and how well moles use their forelimbs to dig tunnels and to walk within the built tunnels to collect and transport food. The first chapter investigates the effect of soil compactness on two sympatric mole species under controlled laboratory conditions. My results demonstrate that increasing soil compactness impedes tunneling performance as evidenced by reduced burrowing speed, increased soil transport, shorter tunnels, shorter ...