Distribution of the plains pocket mouse (Perognathus flavescens) overlaps tallgrass prairies in northeastern parts of the species' range in the central United States. Distribution and abundance of the plains pocket mouse appears negatively impacted by agricultural practices during the last century due to the scarcity of records throughout the region. In eastern Nebraska, few plains pocket mice have been captured and no published account exists in recent decades. We investigated the current status of P. f. perniger, the eastern subspecies in Nebraska, because of a paucity of information regarding this subspecies' natural history and suspected extirpation from the state. We captured 56 P f. perniger in 13 counties in northeastern and east-central Nebraska in 2008, including 10 counties lacking prior records. We also obtained data on its presence in extreme eastern Nebraska (Douglas and Lancaster counties) via a literature review and query for specimens in museums. Some individuals without darker-colored guard hairs represented the eastern limits of the western subspecies P. f. flavescens associated with the easternmost extent of the Sandhill Region of the state or other isolated sandy habitats. Across eastern Nebraska, many sites with captures of plains pocket mice appear to represent strongholds associated with isolated areas of friable, sandy soils. To date, presence of the species has not been detected in southeastern parts of the state. Conservation of habitats with sandy soils, along with implementation or continuance of disturbance regimes (i.e., grazing), will benefit this species and a number of other sand-adapted species in eastern Nebraska.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics