Abstract

Mohave Desert Tortoises (Gopherus agassizii) actively consume calcium-rich soil, bones, and stones, but this “mining” behavior is not well described for Sonoran Desert Tortoises (Gopherus morafkai). Over 8 yrs of study, we observed female G. morafkai consuming small white fragments of calcium-rich and phosphorus-poor caliche, but only during late May and June in an upland Sonoran Desert site in central Arizona. The temporal restriction of caliche consumption coincides with clutch development and egg deposition.

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