Date of this Version
Occasional Papers, Museum of Texas Tech University, Number 333 (28 July 2015).
Mammalian distributions are constantly changing. Some distributional shifts reflect habitat change, climate change, and human transplantations; thus, such shifts are due to actual expansions or contractions of populations. However, other species ranges that appear to shift as the result of new records being added to known distributional limits actually might reflect populations that previously were undetected due to a lack of past surveys or species that are difficult to detect. In 2013, multiple techniques were employed to document mammalian distributional records in southwestern Kansas and northwestern Oklahoma. We discovered three new county records in Morton County, Kansas (Crawford’s Desert Shrew, Notiosorex crawfordi; American Beaver, Castor canadensis; and Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger), with Crawford’s Desert Shrew also representing the first records of the species in Kansas. We documented five new county records in Cimarron County, Oklahoma (Least Shrew, Cryptotis parva; American Parastrelle, Parastrellus hesperus; Wapiti, Cervus canadensis; White-tailed Deer, Odocoileus virginianus; and Eastern Fox Squirrel, Sciurus niger). The Eastern Fox Squirrel and Least Shrew likely are expanding their distribution in this region along the Cimarron River, whereas the Wapiti, White-tailed Deer, and American Beaver likely are recolonizing the area after extirpation during the last century. Occurrence of Eastern Fox Squirrels in Elkhart, Kansas, and Boise City, Oklahoma, might represent human introductions. The American Parastrelle and Crawford’s Desert Shrew likely have gone undetected at those sites and have not recently experienced range expansions. Our results demonstrate the importance of continued surveys using various methods to document mammals. Both counties have been intensively surveyed for mammals, indicating that targeted surveys and various techniques are important to document distributional shifts as well as rare or difficult to capture species. Understanding the species present in an area is requisite for managing habitats and wildlife and will allow biologists to better elucidate future changes in distributions.