Master's Theses



Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


This investigation was conducted in the mixed-prairie association near Hays, Kansas. The principal purpose was to study seasonal movement, activity and species composition of small rodents in four different ecological areas. These four different habitats were: a non-grazed prairie, commonly referred to as the relict area; a moderately grazed pasture, a shelterbelt, and a streambank association. Live trapping was used in all four areas so that individuals could be captured, marked, released and recaptured to obtain the data desired. With the use of live traps the biota was only slightly disturbed and data was gathered which would have been impossible to obtain with snap-traps. Eight species of small rodents were recorded in this investigation. These were: prairie deer mouse (Peromyscus maniculatus luteus); hispid cotton rat (Sigmondon hispidus texianus); western harvest mouse (Reithro-dontomys megalotis duchei); prairie vole (Microtus ochrogaster haydeni); thirteen-lined ground squirrel (Spermophilus tridecemlineatus arenicola); white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus aridulus); course-haired pocket mouse (Perognathus hispidus paradoxus); and house mouse (Mus musculus). Of these eight species seven had been previously reported from this area. The white-footed mouse was first captured in this area during this investigation. In all four ecological areas under investigation it was found that the small mammals were most abundant during the summer season. In all areas except the moderately grazed pasture there was a decrease in the populations of the small rodents during the fall and a low was reached during the winter and early spring. The populations of the moderately grazed pasture remained more or less constant, with only minor fluctuations, throughout all four season. On the shelterbelt and streambank trapping areas there was no spring increase in the abundance of the small mammals from the winter low. This was probably due to snow which remained on these two areas from the middle of January to the last of March. Snow remaining on the ground for such a length of time would possibly eradicate many individuals through exposure, and cause them to die of starvation. Considerable information was recorded in regard to seasonal activities and species composition but only meager information on seasonal movements was obtained.


Committee Chair

Date of Award

Summer 1960

Document Type

Thesis - campus only access


© 1960 Merrill Frydendall


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