Archive for July, 2010

Spring Rodents

July 16, 2010

Here is the belated spring update on Portal rodents. March, April and May were all months full of flowers! In May we began seeing scorpions, Mojave rattlers, and bee swarms. The site was beautiful as all the spring flowers took off, but the rodent numbers stayed low after winter. By May, we were still just below 50 animals! In addition, it appears some changes may be occurring within the community. We haven’t captured a banner-tailed kangaroo rat since late fall and Ord’s kangaroo rat is also doing quite poorly (2 or less all spring!). Perhaps most suprisingly, Bailey’s pocketmouse, which we usually capture throughout the colder months has also nearly disappeared. Very few were seen all winter, and by spring we were only capturing 1-2 each month. Instead, the smaller Desert pocketmouse is numerically dominant, along with Merriam’s kangaroo rat. Overall diversity is currently very low. Hopefully we can continue trapping, at least in some capacity, in order to see what happens as rodent numbers slowly rebound from near zero last winter!

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