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USE OF HABITAT DURING DROUGHT BY THE COMMON MUSKRAT ( ONDATRA ZIBETHICUS ) IN SOUTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA

Brandon McDonald
The Southwestern Naturalist
Vol. 55, No. 1 (MARCH 2010), pp. 35-41
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40588602
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
USE OF HABITAT DURING DROUGHT BY THE COMMON MUSKRAT ( ONDATRA ZIBETHICUS ) IN SOUTHWESTERN OKLAHOMA
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Abstract

Status of the common muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus) in the southern High Plains and western Rolling Plains has remained uncertain due to a scarcity of records. I examined diversity of riparian habitats, frequency of occurrence of habitats, availability of habitats, and use of habitats by muskrats within an irrigation drainage system in southwestern Oklahoma during prolonged drought. Six major habitats were supported in 31 km of drainage channels. These included, in order of descending frequency, emergent cattails, prairie sedge meadow, cattail-forested transition, forest, turf grass, and pioneer mudflat. Of habitats in drainage systems, 60% were available for muskrats as defined by presence of water. Availability differed among habitats; prairie sedge meadow had highest availability and emergent cattails was the lowest in availability. Use of habitats differed significantly among habitats and was driven by availability. El estatus de las ratas almizcleras (Ondatra zibethicus) en las altiplanicies meridionales y las planicies ondulantes occidentales se ha mantenido incierto debido a la escasez de registros. Examiné la diversidad de hábitats ribereños, la frecuencia de ocurrencia de hábitats, la disponibilidad de hábitats, y el uso de hábitats por las ratas almizcleras dentro de un sistema de drenaje de irrigación en el suroeste de Oklahoma durante un período de sequía prolongado. Treinta y un kilómetros de canales de drenaje sostenían seis tipos principales de hábitat, incluyendo en orden de frecuencia descendiente: anea emergente, juncia de prado, anea en transición a forestación, bosque, césped y marisma pionera. El 60% de los hábitats del sistema de drenaje fue clasificado como disponible para las ratas almizcleras de acuerdo a la presencia de agua. La disponibilidad difirió entre los tipos de hábitats; la juncia de prado tuvo la disponibilidad más alta mientras que la anea emergente tuvo la más baja. El uso de los hábbitats por las ratas almizcleras varió significativamente entre los tipos de hábitats, y fue determinado por su disponibilidad.

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