Great Basin Naturalist


Ruby Lake is a highly mesic and vegetationally diverse pluvial lake basin of east central Nevada. Small mammal associations were examined in six plant communities at Ruby Lake using transects of live traps. Small mammal activity was recorded for these six habitats plus an additional three other specialized habitats. A total of 11 species of small mammals were trapped from the six habitat types; from the entire study area 26 species were trapped or observed. Two greasewood shrub habitats and a shadscale-spiny hopsage habitat held the highest number of trapped species, 6, 5, and 7, respectively. The mesic haymeadow and spring habitats, as well as the big sagebrush–antelope bitterbrush habitat held 4 trapped species each. Peromyscus maniculatus and Perognathus parvus made up 76% of the total captures and were found in all habitat types except marshlands. Eutamius minimus was found in four of the six habitat types, while Dipodomys ordii, Dipodomys microps, Perognathus parvus, and Microtus montanus were limited to specialized habitats. Mesic adapted, wetland species such as Mustela vison, Ondatra zibethicus, and Sorex vagrans possibly dispersed into Ruby Valley from the northeastern drainages and valleys during the late Pleistocene or Holocene.