Great Basin Naturalist


The relationships between vegetative and edaphic habitat factors and the local distribution and abundance of small mammals on Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, Harney County, Oregon, were examined between July 1973 and June 1975. Of 16 species of small mammals captured, deer mice (Peromyscus maniculatus), montane voles (Microtus montanus), Great Basin pocket mice (Perognathus parvus), and least chipmunks (Eutamias minimus) comprised 90.1 percent of the individuals. The physiognomy of the vegetation was a factor in the distribution of rodent species other than deer mice. Pocket mice and chipmunks were restricted to the communities dominated by sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata) or greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus). Population densities of pocket mice and chipmunks were significantly related to edaphic factors such as soil depth, texture, and strength, which may have affected the construction and stability of burrows. Montane voles occurred only in marsh or grassland communities. Population densities of voles were directly correlated with the amount of cover and inversely correlated with its patchiness. Deer mice were the most common species encountered and occurred in all but the grassland communities. The density of this species was related to vegetative or edaphic factors only seasonally or in certain habitats, and few generalizations could be made.