Master's Theses

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Date of Award

Spring 1965

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. Eugene Flaherty

Abstract

Activity of small mammals in relation to time of day, various weather conditions, and moonlight was studied during July, August, September, and October, 1964, in a relict area located 1.5 miles southwest of Hays, Ellis County, Kansas. The activity was recorded by means of an automatic photographic device contained in two shelters. One shelter, containing a camera with a synchronized flash, was set on one side of a small mammal runway. The other shelter, containing meteorological instruments and a clock was set on the opposite side of the runway. The shelters were arranged in such a way that when an animal activated the apparatus by stepping on a treadle set in the runway, a photograph was taken of the animal against the background of the instrument dials. The photographic records showed that the western harvest mouse, Reithrodontomys megalotis (Baird), the prairie vole, Microtus ochrogaster (Wagner), and the deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner), were the most frequent users of the runways investigated. The records were analyzed with respect to variations in occurrence, moonlight, time of activity, and meteorological conditions. Reithrodontomys megalotis and M. ochrogaster were found to have been less active on moonlit nights, while P. maniculatus was more active during these times. Microtus ochrogaster appeared to have been nocturnal during the summer and diurnal during the cooler months, while R. megalotis and P. maniculatus were almost entirely nocturnal. The greatest peaks of activity for R. megalotis and P. maniculatus were in the early evening, with lesser peaks occurring in the early morning. Microtus ochrogaster had its greatest peak of activity within a few hours after sunrise, with a lesser peak in the early evening. In general, all three species showed a poor relationship to changes in such meteorological factors as temperature, relative humidity, and barometric pressure. The major determining factor in the activity of R. megalotis and P. maniculatus appears to be light intensity, while the regulating mechanism in the activity of M. ochrogaster could not be ascertained.

Rights

Copyright 1965 Curtis Jay Carley

Comments

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