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Small mammal community composition in cornfields, roadside ditches, and prairies in eastern Nebraska

Kirsch, E. M., 1997, Small mammal community composition in cornfields, roadside ditches, and prairies in eastern Nebraska: Natural Areas Journal, v. 17,no. 3, p. 204-211.


Community composition of small mammals was examined in prairies, cornfields, and their adjacent roadside ditches in eastern Nebraska. Western harvest mice (Reithrodontomys megalotis) and meadow voles (Microtus pennsylvanicus) were associated with prairie habitat, were common in ditches, but avoided cornfields. Prairie voles (M. Ochrogaster) and white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus) were associated with ditch habitat, were common in prairies, but avoided cornfields. Short-tailed shrews (Blarina brevicauda) avoided cornfields, were associated with ditches next to cornfields, but were common in prairies and ditches next to prairies. Deer mice (P. Maniculatus) were associated with cornfields but were relatively common in prairies and ditches. House mice (Mus musculus) were most common in ditches next to cornfields, occurred in cornfields and ditches next to prairies, but were not captured in prairies. Although community composition appears to differ among prairies, ditches, and cornfields, ditches support a more complete suite of the native small mammal species in large and relatively even numbers, whereas cornfields only support deer mice in large numbers.

Keywords: Microtus, Peromyscus, prairie, roadsides, small mammals, Iowa rowcrop fields, Peromyscus leucopus, habitat use, grassed waterways, tallgrass prairie, species richness, bird abundance, nest density, adjacent, behavior

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