Gopher Tortoise — Keystone Species

“The gopher tortoise is a keystone species, meaning its extinction would result in measurable changes to the ecosystem in which it occurs. Specifically, other animals, such as gopher frogs, several species of snakes and several small mammals, depend on tortoise burrows. For the gopher tortoise to thrive, the animal generally needs three things: well-drained sandy soil for digging burrows, plenty of low plant growth for food and open, sunny areas for nesting and basking.”  — more —

via Gopher Tortoise.

I posted this because I’m  learning something about the meaning of  a “keystone species.”  A keystone species is one whose extinction would greatly affect its ecosystem, its environment, other species, other systems — and severely.  The loss of the gopher tortoise would be nothing like the loss of the imperious human species, but I suspect nature would go on.  Just imagine what would happen if Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, went missing.  Who’d miss Pennsylvania?  For starters Ohio, West Virginia, Maryland, New York, and New Jersey.  Think about it and think about how important the gopher tortoise is in his “little world.”  David Milliken

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