Winter activity of the Sonoran desert tortoise (Gopherus morafkai) in Central Arizona

Brian Sullivan, Roy Averill-Murray, Keith O. Sullivan, Justin R. Sullivan, Elizabeth A. Sullivan, J. Daren Riedle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Little is known regarding the activity of desert tortoises during winter, especially for the Sonoran Desert Tortoise (Gopherus morafkai). We observed adult, juvenile, and hatchling G. morafkai active during November, December, January, and February at 3 field sites in upland Sonoran Desert in central Arizona. At 1 site all individuals under observation (n=36), including males, females, and hatchlings, emerged from hibernacula to drink during the first heavy (>20 mm) rainfall event (December); at all 3 sites, females were observed active (basking, foraging) during winter much more frequently than were males.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-119
Number of pages6
JournalChelonian Conservation and Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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