Institut für Biologie der Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg


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Erforschung biologischer Ressourcen der Mongolei (2005) 9: 45-52.

In: Proceedings of the symposium ”Ecosystem Research in the Arid Environments of Central Asia: Results, Challenges, and Perspectives,” Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, June 23-24, 2004.


Copyright 2005, Martin-Luther-Universität. Used by permission.


Behavior, morphology, and biology of the Mongolian pika (Ochotona pallasi) were investigated within the framework of the joint ’Grazing Research Project’ of the Philipps-University of Mar-burg, Germany and the Mongolian National University in Ulaanbaatar. The study took place in the Stipa-Allium-steppes of the upper pediments in the Dund Saykhan mountain of the Gobi Gurvan Saykhan National Park, where its burrows cover a significant part of the area.

The behavior of the Mongolian pikas changes seasonally. During the rut in spring males are generally more occupied with defending their territory and fighting off rivals, while females spend more time preparing themselves and their burrows for giving birth. In summer and autumn pikas are more busy with collecting plants for winter storage.

Mongolian Pikas in the Stipa-Allium-steppes of the Gobi Gurvan Saykhan National Park are territorial animals. While females show constant home ranges of 400–500 m2, males expand their home ranges during the rut to 1,500 m2 and more. Females, whether breeding or not, have a constant home range size.

The pikas are polygamous and one adult male mates with 2–3 females. After the breeding season the home ranges of the males gets smaller in size again, but they still are are considerably larger than those of females and overlap with the territories of 2–3 females. After the birth of the juveniles these live in the mother’s home range until they are driven away and have to look for own territories.