An evaluation of the nine-banded armadillo as predators of gopher tortoise and northern bobwhite quail nests in Florida.
The nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), invasive to Florida and Georgia, is thought to be an important predator of nesting vertebrate species in some areas; yet little is known about how armadillos find these nests and how often depredations occur in areas with low nest densities. To quantify the armadillo's attraction to nests of two species of conservation concern, northern bobwhite quail (Colinus virginianus) and gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus), and to evaluate if armadillos are more attracted to cues from prior depredation than to cues from intact nests, we conducted experiments with both captive and wild armadillos. Our results indicate that armadillos did not use cues from prior depredations to find nests; nor did they exhibit a strong attraction to eggs overall. Our results suggest that armadillos are unlikely to alter the demographics of gopher tortoises or bobwhite quail within habitats of low nest density.