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Effects of trap type on small mammal richness, diversity, and mortality

Authors

  • Ryan B. Stephens,

    Corresponding author
    1. Wildlife Department, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI, USA
    Current affiliation:
    1. Natural Resources and the Environment, University of New Hampshire, Durham, NH, USA
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  • Eric M. Anderson

    1. Wildlife Department, College of Natural Resources, University of Wisconsin Stevens Point, Stevens Point, WI, USA
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  • Associate Editor: Homyack

ABSTRACT

When evaluating richness and diversity of small mammal communities, it is important to consider the impact that trap efficacy may have on these indices. The objectives of our study were to determine species-specific trap efficacy relative to Sherman traps and pitfall traps, assess the impact of trap efficacy on measures of species richness and diversity, and compare mortality rates between trap types and whether pitfall covers reduce trap mortality. In the summers of 2009 and 2010, we trapped throughout Wisconsin, USA, in 5 vegetation communities. We used 180 transects (190 m long) of 20 Sherman live traps spaced every 10 m and 10 pitfall traps spaced every 20 m for 4 consecutive nights. We trapped 3,261 small mammals of 23 species in 34,235 combined trap-nights. Pitfall traps were more effective at capturing shrews and voles, whereas Sherman traps captured more mice (Peromyscus spp.) and squirrels. Irrespective of vegetation community, both trap types together captured significantly higher species richness and diversity than either trap type captured independently. Covers significantly reduced mortality of Peromyscus spp., but not for voles or shrews, and covers reduced overall captures of voles. Our results indicate that Sherman and pitfall traps capture different portions of the small mammal community and, regardless of the vegetation community, should be used in combination when assessing species richness and diversity. © 2014 The Wildlife Society.

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