Master's Theses

Date of Award

Fall 1996

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Jerry R. Choate

Abstract

I assessed the utility of cranial measurements to discriminate between the western harvest mouse (Reithrodonlomys megalolis) and plains harvest mouse (R. montanus) where they occur sympatrically in Kansas. I analyzed five different combinations of measurements using discriminant function analysis to determine if several measurements could be used together to Identify Individuals of the two species regardless of the age of the animals. Individual cranial measurements did not correctly identify all individuals of the two species when relative age was disregarded. When age was considered, adults and old adults, but not subadults, were identified correctly based on univariate statistical data from cranial characters. All specimens of the two species regardless of age were identified correctly by discriminant function analysis using three of the five combinations of measurements. I subsequently tested the results using specimens of the two species from other regions of sympatry (i.e., Chihuahua, Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and Texas). Overall, results of both univariate and multivariate statistical analyses were extremely effective in distinguishing individuals of R. megalolis and R. montanus wherever they occur sympatrically, even with the added variability of size associated with the different subspecies included in the test samples.

Rights

Copyright 1996 Steven R. Hoofer

Comments

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