Vegetation characteristics associated with small mammal populations in the Las Vegas Wash

Christine Therese Herndon, University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Percent litter, average litter depth, percent bare ground, vegetation density, vegetation canopy, and distance to an ecotone boundary were measured and compared to small mammal capture locations in the Las Vegas Wash. Neotoma lepida appear to be greatly dependent upon the foliage litter of T. ramosissima. Alternatively, ecotone boundaries appear to be the most important factor affecting Dipodomys merriami distributions. Peromyscus eremicus distributions may be predicted based on vegetation density and increased canopy during shorter, winter torpor periods. Chaetodipus penicillatus were consistently associated with dense, seed-bearing vegetation, although C. penicillatus is extremely opportunistic and vegetation density should not limit their distributions. Long-term management strategies for the Las Vegas Wash should include the diverse habitat requirements of small mammals and also acknowledge the dependence of certain species on non-native vegetation.