The morphology of Pappogeomys bulleri is well adapted to fossorial life. They have small, flattened heads, short necks, and short, broad, and muscular forelimbs. The eyes, nose, and ears can be closed by flaps of skin to keep out dirt when digging. Their lips can close behind their incisors, allowing them to dig with their teeth and keep their mouth free of dirt. Their common name, Buller's pocket gopher, refers to the fur-lined cheek pouches in their mouths. They use these pouches to transport food from above ground into their burrows. They have large, sharp claws on their forelimbs and shorter claws on their hind feet.
The pelage varies by subspecies, but is generally pale to dark grey basally and tawny to cinnamon brown dorsally. Long, soft and fine, their fur lies near the body and falls in one direction. They sometimes have a white or buff nasal patch, although it is often missing. Their tails are naked and white, extending a distance less than half the length of the body and head. Pappogeomys bulleri is sexually dimorphic with males larger than females, but this difference is not as pronounced as in other gopher species (Geomyidae). Variation in size also exists among subspecies. On average, the total body length of males is 214 to 237 mm and the total body length of females is 130 to 175 mm. Males continue to grow in body size throughout their lifetime, while females stop growing at sexual maturation. Average measurements are as follows (in mm): length of head and body 130-175; length of tail 50-85; length of ear 6.5-8; length of hind food 28-35; occipitonasal length 36.2-44.0; zygomatic breadth 21.4-27.8; width across squamosals 20.3-27.2; breadth of interorbital constriction 6.5-8; length of nasals 11.8-16.2; length of maxillary toothrow 7.5-10.2; width of upper incisors at cutting edge 3.8-4.9; length of rostrum 16.6-21.4. Overall, the skull of P. bulleri is small and narrow.
The teeth are similar to those of other rodents and gophers. They have two large, central incisors that they use in digging. These incisors have a single, medial sulcus that runs down the entire labial surface of the tooth. Like those of other rodents, the incisors are continually worn down and regenerated. Lower incisors are regenerated significantly faster than upper incisors. The first molar has a thin enamel plate that extends across the posterior wall of the tooth and is variable among subspecies. Pocket gophers have 20 teeth total, with the dental formula: i 1/1, c 0/0, p 1/1, m 3/3.
Average mass: 225 g.
Range length: 192 to 237 mm.
Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger
- Goldman, E. 1939. The Pocket Gophers of the Genus Pappogeomys. Journal of Mammalogy, 20 (1): 93-98.
- Akersten, W. 1973. Upper Incisor Grooves in the Geomyinae. Journal of Mammalogy, 54 (2): 349-355.
- Morand, S., M. Hafner, R. Page, D. Reed. 2000. Comparative body size relationships in pocket gophers and their chewing lice. Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 70: 239-249.
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