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Factors Influencing the Local Distribution of Shrews

Lowell L. Getz
The American Midland Naturalist
Vol. 65, No. 1 (Jan., 1961), pp. 67-88
DOI: 10.2307/2423003
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2423003
Page Count: 22
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Factors Influencing the Local Distribution of Shrews
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Abstract

A field study was made of the factors influencing the local distribution of Sorex cinereus and Blarina brevicauda in southern Michigan. The environmental factors considered were vegetation type, cover (fallen trees, brush, leaf litter), temperature, food, moisture and interspecific competition. Blarina brevicauda was found only in moist situations but avoided standing water. It was scarce or absent in those habitats in which the available food supply (consisting of the larger forms of invertebrates) was low. Vegetation, type of cover, temperature, and interspecific competition were not important factors. Sorex cinereus occurred in all habitats except upland hardwoods. The reason for the avoidance of this habitat was not determined, but it apparently was not a response to the type of vegetation. Sorex was relatively less abundant in the drier situations than was B. brevicauda and did not avoid standing water. S. cinereus may be able to utilize smaller food items (collembolans, ants, spiders) than B. brevicauda, so that its local distribution is not influenced by the availability of the larger invertebrates. Type of cover, temperature, and interspecific competition were not important factors in its local distribution.

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