Use of Woody Debris by cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) in a Southeastern pine forest

  • McCay T
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Abstract

Coarse woody debris, which includes fallen logs, snags, and stumps, may be an important habitat component for many mammals. I examined use of woody debris by the cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus) with radiotelemetry and fluorescent-powder tracking in a managed loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) forest. Most day refuges of cotton mice were asso- ciated with woody debris, including refuges in rotting stumps (69%), under upturned root boles (14%), and under fallen logs and brush (9%). Stumps used by cotton mice were larger in diameter (P  0.05) and more highly decomposed (P  0.001) than stumps randomly selected at the study area. Nighttime telemetry locations of 4 of 8 cotton mice were closer to large (10 cm diameter) fallen logs than expected by chance (P  0.05), whereas locations of no mice were farther from logs than expected. Pathways of cotton mice crossed woody debris (including logs of all sizes) for a greater distance than random transects at the study area (P  0.05). Logs used by powder-tracked mice were longer than randomly selected logs (P  0.01). Extensive and selective use suggests that woody debris, particularly in the form of large logs and stumps, is an important habitat component for the cotton mouse in southeastern pine forests.

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Authors

  • Timothy S McCay

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