Master's Theses

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Date of Award

Spring 1966

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Biology

Advisor

Dr. Eugene Flaherty

Abstract

Home- range size, population density, distributions, and territoriality of small mammals were studied from April through August of 1965, in a relict grassland area 1.5 miles southwest of Hays, Ellis County, Kansas. Home ranges were determined from captures recorded on a 50 foot grid of live traps enclosing 9.81 acres. The minimum area and exclusive boundary strip methods of home range calculation were employed. Monthly population densities were calculated by the utilization of the Lincoln Index. The distribution of each species on the study area was determined by the nearest neighbor and spatial relation concepts and by habitat preferences. Territorial behavior was investigated by the degree of multiple captures, exclusive home ranges, spatial relations, and by the distribution of centers of activity. Adult male and female Peromyscus maniculatus (Wagner) monthly mean home ranges, as determined by the minimum area method, were significantly larger during spring and summer months. Home ranges of each sex in a mixed grass community were also significantly different, while male and female ranges in a little bluestem community were not significantly different. No significant differences existed between adult male and female ranges of Reithrodontomys megalotis (Baird). Male ranges of Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord and of Microtus ochrogaster (Wagner) were found to be somewhat larger than the female ranges. Apparently the type of plant community had no influence on home range size, since no significant differences were found between ranges of Peromyscus occurring in the little bluestem and mixed grass communities. Male Reithrodontomys home ranges in a weed community were not significantly different from male home ranges in a little bluestem community. Peromyscus minimum area ranges were significantly larger in the spring than in the summer. The smaller ranges in the summer could have been the result of an increase in natural foods or of an increase in density. Density apparently did not influence home- range size of male Reithrodontomys, since their population number remained fairly stable while home- range size was steadily decreasing. Populations of Perormyscus and Reithrodontomys were distributed in a random manner over the entire study area and in the corronunities where they occurred. Spatial or pairing relationships were found in the male populations of both species. Peromyscus preferred the little bluestem and mixed grass communities, while Reithrodontomys was found predominantly in the weed and little bluestem communities. No territorial behavior was discovered in either of the Peromyscus or Reithrodontomys populations.

Rights

Copyright 1966 Ross A. Lock

Comments

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