Habitat Selection Of The White-Ankled Mouse (Peromyscus pectoralis) In Val Verde Co., Texas
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The purpose of this study conducted at the Devils River State Natural Area – Big Satan Unit, in Val Verde County, Texas, is to delineate which of 21 selected microhabitat variables are important to the microscale distribution of the white-ankled mouse (Peromyscus pectoralis) and to determine if microhabitat selection patterns vary among four macrohabitat types (shrubland, woodland, grassland, and rocky slope). Data are collected on microhabitat by using the spool-and-line tracking technique. A preliminary set of three spool-and-line trials have been conducted (each with a randomized control line for comparison), in the shrubland (1) and rocky slope (2) macrohabitat types. Comparisons of microhabitat parameters across all mice spooled, the shrubland mouse and the combined rocky slope mice, and comparisons between rocky slope sites were made using a Student’s paired t-test. Out of 21 microhabitat variables examined, no statistically significant (P < 0.05) differences were found between habitats and control sites or between macrohabitat sites. These preliminary data suggest that the foraging pattern of mice at this study site does not differ from the expected, based on these analyses. Further data collection at all macrohabitats and larger sample sizes may reveal different patterns in microhabitat use. Additional statistical analyses including multivariate approaches also may show differences in the use of microhabitats by P. pectoralis. Data collection on microhabitat selection in this mouse species will continue through summer 2014.