Sigmodon hispidus, Reithrodontomys fulvescens, Lake Fayetteville


We examined changes in abundance of small mammals in forest and prairie-grassland habitat at Lake Fayetteville, Arkansas over a period of 32 years. We estimated the population size of small mammals using a mark-recapture method by capturing small mammals employing rat-sized Sherman live traps laid out in a grid with 8 rows of traps, 15 traps per row, 9.14 m (30 feet) between traps and rows covering an area of 1.01 ha (2.5 acres) in size. Six species of mammals were trapped in the prairie-grassland and three species were captured in the forest habitat. In the forest, the white-footed deermouse (Peromuscus leucopus)was greatest in 1998 and in 2006. In the prairie-grassland, the population of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) were greatest in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2014 and have increased over the years with the change in grass composition. The prairie-grassland in 1962 was mainly a broomsedge bluestem (Andropogon virginicus) field but as time progressed more and more prairie grasses invaded helped by controlled burns and removal of the invading eastern red cedars (Juniperus virginiana). The population of Sigmodon hispidus was weakly correlated with the minimum winter temperatures from the previous year.

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