We hypothesized that flooding represents an environmental stressor that might affect the corticosterone levels, parasite prevalence, and life history of small mammals living in floodplain environments. We compared populations of white-footed mice (Peromyscus leucopus (Rafinesque, 1818)) on floodplains and dry areas. We found more males on floodplains (p = 0.008) and more females on dry areas (p = 0.005). There were no differences in mass (p > 0.05) or intestinal parasite prevalence (p = 0.665) between dry and floodplain habitats, but bot fly larvae were significantly more prevalent in males living on floodplains (p = 0.043). Floodplain animals had significantly higher levels of corticosterone than dry-area animals in fall, and lower levels in summer (F-[1,F-20] = 4.483, p = 0.047). In addition, we found that animals with intestinal parasites had higher levels of corticosterone than those that were without parasites (p = 0.014) or that harbored hot fly larvae (p = 0.001). Floodplains seem to be harsher environments than dry areas, but this may be a result of differences in habitat rather than a direct result of flooding.
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