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Overview

Brief Summary

Description

"Woodrats are also known as Packrats, because they cache various manmade objects in their dens. This habit of collecting foreign objects is useful to scientists, who can place numbered sticks throughout an area and later open a den, record the numbers of the sticks the woodrat has carried home, and determine the size of the animal's home range. White-throated Woodrats occur on forested hillsides, rocky mountainsides, and on flat scrubland. They especially like prickly pear cactus, but also eat cholla, yucca, grass, catclaw, soapweed, and various parts of juniper trees and mesquite. They make their dens of some of these plants, which they can use as a food supply when fresh food is not available. Fossilized woodrat dens can supply information about ancient vegetation and therefore, what the climate must have been like at different times."

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  • Original description: Hartley, F., 1894.  Description of a new species of woodrat from Arizona, p. 157. Proceedings of the California Academy of Sciences, ser. 2, 4:157-160.
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Distribution

occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

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National Distribution

United States

Origin: Native

Regularity: Regularly occurring

Currently: Present

Confidence: Confident

Type of Residency: Year-round

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Global Range: Southeastern California, southern Nevada, southeastern Utah, southwestern Colorado, and western New Mexico south to northern Sinaloa and Chihuahua. Populations east of the Rio Grande and Rio Conchos now considered to be N. leucodon (Edwards et al. 2001).

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Range Description

Southwestern USA and central and western Mexico, from sea level to 2,500 m. Occurs from extreme southeastern Utah and southwestern Colorado south through Arizona, western New Mexico, Sonora, Chihuahua, and into northern Sinaloa. Also in a small area of southeastern California and northeastern Baja California, and on Tiburon and Turner islands.
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The ranges of the white-throated woodrat and its subspecies are from the southeastern corners of Nevada and California across southern Utah and all of Arizona to southwestern Colorado, across west Texas and south to central Mexico [44,60,135]. NatureServe provides a distributional map of the white-throated woodrat and 2 subspecies.

The distributions of white-throated woodrats are described below [58]. The distribution of Neotoma albigula seri was not described in the available literature.

N. a. albigula: Northern New Mexico and northeastern Arizona south along the east side of the Sierra Madre Oriental, to southern Coahuila, Mexico. Also central Texas to western Arizona, and south along the western side of the Sierra Madre Occidental to central Sonora [60,132]

N. a. brevicauda: Utah and Colorado [49]

N. a. durangae: Southwestern Chihuahua [60,132] and central Durango, Mexico [8,132]

N. a. laplataensis: Utah, Colorado, and Arizona [60]

N. a. latifrons: Michoacán, Mexico [58,59]

N. a. leucodon: East of the Rio Grande in New Mexico, Texas, and Oklahoma [44]; Durango, Zacatecas, San Luis Potosí, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Aguascalientes, Querétaro, Hidalgo [58,59], and southeastern Coahuila, Mexico [132]

N. a. mearnsi: Arizona

N. a. melanura: Central Sonora [60,132], Chihuahua [60], and Sinaloa, Mexico [72]

N. a. melas: New Mexico

N. a. robusta: Texas [58]

N. a. sheldoni: Northeastern Sonora, Mexico [58,132]

N. a. subsolana: Coahuila [60], Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, and Coahuila, Mexico [3]

N. a. venusta: Colorado River valley in western Arizona [132] south to Sonora and Baja California, Mexico

N. a. warreni: Colorado, Oklahoma [58,60], northeastern New Mexico [58,132], and Texas [60]

  • 3. Alvarez, Ticul. 1962. A new subspecies of woodrat (Neotoma) from northeastern Mexico. In: Hall, E. Raymond; Fitch, Henry S.; Eaton, Theodore H., Jr., eds. University of Kansas publications. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History. 14(11): 141-143. [70335]
  • 8. Baker, Rollin H.; Greer, J. Keever. 1962. Mammals of the Mexican state of Durango. In: Baker, Rollin H.; Ball, Robert C.; Cantlon, John E.; Fischer, Roland L.; Wallace, George J., eds. Publications of the museum--Biological series. East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University. 2(2): 25-154. [61125]
  • 44. Edwards, Cody W.; Fulhorst, Charles F.; Bradley, Robert D. 2001. Molecular phylogenetics of the Neotoma albigula species group: further evidence of a paraphyletic assemblage. Journal of Mammalogy. 82(2): 267-279. [70190]
  • 49. Finley, Robert B., Jr. 1958. The wood rats of Colorado: distribution and ecology. In: Hall, E. Raymond; Fitch, Henry S.; Tordoff, Harrison B., eds. University of Kansas publications. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History. 10(6): 213-552. [23865]
  • 58. Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. Neotoma albigula: White-throated wood rat. In: The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 751-754. [54709]
  • 59. Hall, E. Raymond; Genoways, Hugh H. 1970. Taxonomy of the Neotoma albigula-group of woodrats in central Mexico. Journal of Mammology. 51: 504-516. [70296]
  • 60. Hall, E. Raymond; Kelson, Keith R. 1959. The mammals of North America. New York: Ronald Press Company. 1083 p. [21460]
  • 72. Jones, J. K.; Carter, D. C.; Genoways, H. H. 1979. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1979. Occasional Papers of the Museum of Texas Tech University. 62(12-1): 1-17. [21139]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 135. Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. 2005. Mammal species of the world: A taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Available: http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/ [69038]

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Geographic Range

Neotoma albigula occupies a wide range of habitats in the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. The northern extent of its range includes the Four Corners region and the southernmost tip of Nevada. It can also be found as far west as southeastern California and as far east as central Texas. It is distributed widely throughout New Mexico and Arizona and through most of northern Mexico.

Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )

  • Cockrum, E. 1982. Mammals of the Southwest. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press.
  • Macedo, R., M. Mares. 1988. "Neotoma Albigula" (On-line pdf). Accessed April 04, 2011 at http://www.science.smith.edu/departments/Biology/VHAYSSEN/msi/.
  • Zeveloff, S. 1988. Mammals of the Intermountain West. Salt Lake City, UT: University of Utah Press.
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Physical Description

Morphology

Physical Description

In general, Neotoma albigula has a medium-sized body with brownish gray fur covering dorsum. The venter is white or light gray with a white throat. The tail is shorter than the length of the body, is bi-colored and is covered in moderately long hair. The ears are large and hairless. Average mass is 197 g and average head-body length is 328 mm; however, body size varies depending on climate, with larger specimens found in colder regions and smaller specimens found in warmer regions. Black color-morphs of N. albigula occur on lava beds in Texas and New Mexico. The species is further divided into 13 subspecies that occupy overlapping ranges throughout the southwestern United States and northern Mexico. Subspecies are distinguished primarily by morphometric characteristics (e.g., body size). Average basal metabolic rate for this species is 36000 cm^3 oxygen/hour. Sexual dimorphism has not been documented in N. albigula.

Average mass: 197 g.

Average length: 328 mm.

Average basal metabolic rate: 36000 cm^3 oxygen/hour.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

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Size

Length: 40 cm

Weight: 294 grams

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Size in North America

Length:
Average: 328 mm
Range: 282-400 mm

Weight:
Average: 224 g males; 188 g females
Range: 135-283 g
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Ecology

Habitat

Comments: Rocky cliffs and brushlands; creosote bush scrub; mesquite-yucca; rocky areas in pinyon-juniper woodland. When inactive, occupies elaborate den built among cactus, brush, or rocks, or in hollow tree or abandoned building. Young are born in nest within den.

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Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
Inhabits arid areas, with preferred areas including rocky mountainsides, arid scrublands and cactus flats, pinyon-juniper woodlands on slopes, and desert habitats.

Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Cover Requirements

More info for the terms: cacti, cactus, cover, presence, selection, shrub, shrubs, tree

White-throated woodrats must rely on self-constructed, ground-level shelter to lower the energetic costs of thermoregulation in extreme environments [21,94,97,98,131]. White-throated woodrats typically use 2 types of shelter: houses, constructed at the base of plants, and dens in rock crevices [45,83,97,98,131]. Other shelter types include holes and crevices in cutbanks along washes [104,132], subterranean burrows of other animals [21,104,108,142], piles of coarse woody debris, and human habitations and structures [132]. Houses and dens are often maintained by successive generations of white-throated woodrats [97,98].

Houses are built by white-throated woodrats at the base of trees, shrubs, and cacti [83,85,97,98,131,134] or in piles of coarse woody debris [97,116]. White-throated woodrats prefer to construct houses at the bases of plants that provide both adequate shelter and food. Houses are constructed of various materials (see Building materials) and are typically 3 to 10 feet (1-3 m) in diameter and up to 3 feet tall [132]. Dens function as houses but are located in rock crevices, rock fissures, and under boulder piles [21,33,83,85,97,98,108,131,132,134].

Houses and dens enclose a system of runways and chambers, including the white-throated woodrat's nest [97,98]. The nest averages 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter and is composed of soft, fine material including grass, shredded prickly-pear fibers, or juniper bark [131,132].

Building materials: White-throated woodrats use locally available building materials to construct houses [83,94]. In wooded areas, white-throated woodrats use sticks and other debris, and in deserts, parts of cacti, catclaw acacia, mesquite, and yucca are typically used [83,131]. Cactus parts are preferred building materials; preference for cacti is so strong that white-throated woodrat houses may not contain a proportionally representative sample of the surrounding plant community [22,131]. Other building materials used by white-throated woodrats across their range include feces, bones, and human objects [22,33,94,97,131,132]. Of 100 white-throated woodrat houses found on the Santa Rita Experimental Range, 75 different items were used for construction. The most commonly used building materials included mesquite, catclaw acacia, paloverde, desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), and creosotebush twigs; cholla joints and fruits; portions of prickly-pear where it was abundant; and juniper, pinyon pine, and oak twigs where they were abundant. Other items included horse, cow, and coyote dung, animal bones, stones, and human-discarded materials [131].

Building materials are gathered near the white-throated woodrat's shelter. At McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Arizona, white-throated woodrats gathered 30% of house building materials within 33 feet (10 m) from their shelter. Houses and dens are altered and refurbished during the year using new and old building materials [94].

In Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona, use of building materials depended on availability [33,132]. Juniper leaves and berries were used most often in a pinyon-juniper woodland, and mesquite leaves and pods and Christmas cactus (Cylindropuntia leptocaulis) joints were used most often in a desert scrub habitat [33]. In the Lower Sonoran desert of Arizona, white-throated woodrats favored some plants because of their structural and food values and favored other plants due to their availability. When available, cholla was used most often for building material due to its structural and food values. Mesquite sticks were used frequently. Although mesquite was seldom used for food, mesquite sticks were abundant at the base of plants so they were readily available. White bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) was very abundant and used for building material, even though plants were too small to shelter a white-throated woodrat den [132].

Relationship of white-throated woodrat den locations and house materials of 100 houses in the Lower Sonoran desert, Arizona [132]
Cover above den No. dens located under No. occurrences as building material Plant part used
Cholla 21 73 Chiefly cholla cactus joints
Mesquite 15 40 Sticks
Catclaw acacia 21 26 Sticks
Prickly-pear 19 22 Pads or skeletons
White bursage 0 16 Small bushes
Desert hackberry (Celtis pallida) 6 9 Sticks
Creosotebush 7 7 Sticks
Ephedra spp. 3 3 Stems
Yucca 4 4 Leaves, pieces of stem
Paloverde 0 2 Sticks
Saguaro 1 2 Saguaro "pearls"*, pieces of bark
Desert ironwood 1 1 Sticks
In the open 2 0 ----
*The definition of "pearls" was not given in the article

Shelter sites: Cover near the ground is an important criterion for white-throated woodrat shelter sites. In northern portions of their range, white-throated woodrats tend to construct houses at the bases of trees [21,33,128,132]; in southern portions of their range, white-throated woodrats tend to construct houses at the bases of shrub-trees, shrubs [33,90,115,121,132], or cacti [22,33,94,132]. When available, rocks are preferred by white-throated woodrats for shelter because they provide more protection from variations in ambient temperature than the base of plants [97,98,131].

Plants: Although any tree, shrub, or cactus may be used by white-throated woodrats for shelter sites [132], the most commonly used plants are discussed below.

Juniper: White-throated woodrats construct houses at the base of live and dead fallen juniper trees in pinyon-juniper woodlands in Arizona [132], New Mexico [128], Utah [21], and Texas [33]. The base of pinyons are occasionally used [132].

Mesquite: Mesquite is often favored by white-throated woodrats for shelter in habitat dominated by mesquite in New Mexico [90], Arizona [21,90], California [115], and Texas [33]. In habitat dominated by mesquite and creosotebush in San Diego County, California, all white-throated woodrat houses were located at the bases of honey mesquite. Twenty to 26-foot tall (6-8 m) honey mesquite were preferred over 3 to 10 foot (1-3 m) tall honey mesquite, probably because they provided more shelter and abundant, accessible food [115]. An exception in habitat dominated by mesquite occurred on the Santa Cruz river bottom near Tucson, Arizona, where white-throated woodrat houses were also built under netleaf hackberry, American black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), bear grass (Nolina spp.), or saguaro [132].

Yucca: In habitats where yucca are abundant white-throated woodrats use the base of yucca for shelter sites. On the Jornada Experiment Range in New Mexico, and the Black Gap Wildlife Management Refuge in Trans-Pecos Texas , white-throated woodrats built houses at the bases and fallen trunks of yucca [121,132]. Soaptree yucca was used by white-throated woodrats in the lower Sonoran zone of the Lordsburg Plains in New Mexico and the San Simon Valley in Arizona [90].

Cholla and prickly-pear: Cholla and prickly-pear are often used by white-throated woodrats for cover because they provide excellent protection from predators, as well as food and water [22,90,94,132,134]. One of the factors in white-throated woodrat shelter-site selection in McDowell Mountain Regional Park was presence of teddybear cholla [94]. In the Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree National Monument, white-throated woodrats depended on stands of jumping cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) for cover [22], and in the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona, most white-throated woodrat dens were found at the bases of cholla and prickly-pear [90,132].

In Guadalupe Mountains National Park, white-throated woodrat distribution may be limited more by the presence of Mexican woodrats (N. mexicana) and the southern plains woodrat (N. micropus) than by habitat limitations. In areas not inhabited by Mexican woodrats and southern plains woodrats, the white-throated woodrat constructed houses at bases of prickly-pears. In areas where white-throated woodrats and southern plains woodrats lived in close proximity, white-throated woodrat constructed houses under honey mesquite [33].

Other vegetation: In the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona and New Mexico, white-throated woodrats commonly used the bases of catclaw acacia for shelter [90,132].

White-throated woodrats selected multiple-stemmed plants over single-stemmed plants and a dense, low canopy over a tall, thin canopy in habitat dominated by triangle bursage in Organ Pipe National Monument in Arizona and New Mexico. White-throated woodrats selected house sites in reverse order of plant abundance: yellow paloverde 18.1 plants/ha, 6 houses; desert ironwood, 7.6 plants/ha, 14 houses; and organ pipe cactus, 5.0 plants/ha, 21 houses. Yellow paloverde was probably selected for shelter least often because it is a single-stemmed tree with a tall canopy; organpipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) was probably selected most often because it is a multiple-stemmed plant with many cylindrical stems branching near the ground from a central trunk, providing more cover [97,98].

Rock: In juniper woodlands in the high desert of southeastern Utah, white-throated woodrats occasionally denned under boulder crevices at the bases of vertical cliffs [21]. In habitat dominated by brittle bush in Saguaro National Monument, all 103 white-throated woodrat dens were located within jumbles of rocks or under boulders. Ninety-one dens were located under boulders >7 feet (2 m) in diameter, and 12 dens were located under boulders <7 feet in diameter [97,98].

Other shelter sites: White-throated woodrats occasionally use river banks [104], subterranean areas [104,142], or caves [131] for shelter. In habitat dominated by honey mesquite and creosotebush at Carrizo Creek in San Diego County, white-throated woodrats sought cover either in river banks or subterranean burrows that were probably excavated by kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.). Lack of stick houses may have been due to a harsh summer climate, ease of burrowing in loose sand, scarcity of building materials, or adequate overhead protection by honey mesquite. River banks were 6 to 15 feet (2-5 m) high, and burrows were excavated at various heights from the bottom. Hole diameter was 3.5 to 7 inches (8.9-18 cm). White-throated woodrats also dwelled in subterranean burrows with as many as 8 openings, covered with a few small twigs, at the bases of honey mesquite [104]. In a similar habitat type in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, white-throated woodrats denned in sand dunes created by banner-tailed kangaroo rats (D. spectabilis) around honey mesquite [142].

  • 21. Brown, James H. 1968. Adaptation to environmental temperature in two species of woodrats, Neotoma cinerea and N. albigula. Miscellaneous Publications No. 135. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 48 p. [70299]
  • 22. Brown, James H.; Lieberman, Gerald A.; Dengler, William F. 1972. Woodrats and cholla: dependence of a small mammal population on the density of cacti. Ecology. 53 (2): 310-313. [70329]
  • 33. Cornely, John E. 1979. Ecological distribution of woodrats (genus Neotoma) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series Number 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 373-394. [69896]
  • 45. Ellison, Laura E.; van Riper, Charles, III. 1998. A comparison of small-mammal communities in a desert riparian floodplain. Journal of Mammalogy. 79(3): 972-985. [60580]
  • 83. Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p. [4021]
  • 85. Mazurek, Ellen Jill. 1981. Effects of fire on small mammals and vegetation in the Upper Sonoran Desert. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 88 p. Thesis. [55763]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 94. Newton, Mark Alan. 1990. The ecology, behavior and evolutionary dynamics of the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 245 p. Dissertation. [69893]
  • 97. Olsen, Ronald W. 1973. Shelter-site selection in the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula. Journal of Mammalogy. 54: 594-610. [9886]
  • 98. Olsen, Ronald Werner. 1970. Secondary habitat selection in the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 180 p. Dissertation. [69897]
  • 104. Rainey, Dennis G. 1965. Observations of the distribution and ecology of the white-throated wood rat in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 64:27-42. [70194]
  • 108. Richardson, William B. 1943. Wood rats (Neotoma albigula): their growth and development. Journal of Mammology. 24: 130-143. [70297]
  • 115. Schwartz, Orlando A.; Bleich, Vernon C. 1975. Comparative growth in two species of woodrats, Neotoma lepida intermedia and Neotoma albigula venusta. Journal of Mammology. 56(3): 653-666. [70298]
  • 116. Severson, Kieth E. 1986. Small mammals in modified pinyon-juniper woodlands, New Mexico. Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 31-34. [2107]
  • 121. Stangl, Frederick B., Jr.; Rodgers, Brenda E.; Haiduk, Michael W. 1999. Ecological observations on the malanistic woodrats (Neotoma albigula) of Black Gap Wildlife Management Area Brewster County of Trans-Pecos Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 51(1): 25-30. [69891]
  • 128. Turkowski, Frank J.; Watkins, Ross K. 1976. White-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) habitat relations in modified pinyon-juniper woodland of southwestern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 57(3): 586-591. [2370]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 134. Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1980. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 745 p. [25194]
  • 142. Wright, Michael E. 1973. Analysis of habitats of two woodrats in southern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 54(2): 529-535. [70345]

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Preferred Habitat

More info for the terms: association, cacti, cover, density, forbs, litter, natural, presence, shrub, shrubs, tree, xeric

The white-throated woodrat occupies a variety of plant communities from sea level to 9,200 feet (2,800 m) [21,97,131,132] but is most common in Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert grassland and desert shrub habitats [21,37,90,94,131,132,137]. The white-throated woodrat is generally associated with creosotebush, mesquite, cacti (particularly prickly-pear and cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.)), catclaw acacia, and paloverde. These plants provide cover (see Cover) and succulent plant food (>50% water by weight) (see Food habits), the 2 most critical habitat requirements for white-throated woodrat [21,22,33,49,90,93,94,104,131,132].

White-throated woodrats prefer habitat with low tree canopy cover [1,14,45,116], high shrub [14,55] and rock cover [14,55,56,88,142], and coarse woody debris [1,49,97,106,116,128]. When available, natural and human constructed riparian habitat may be used by white-throated woodrats [4,5,35,45,91].

Tree, shrub, and rock cover: In several studies in Arizona, white-throated woodrats preferred low tree cover and high shrub, rock, and litter cover [1,14,45,116]. In ponderosa pine-Gambel oak habitat in the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona, white-throated woodrat presence was negatively associated with high tree cover and high herbaceous cover and positively associated with high shrub and rock cover. On plots where white-throated woodrats were trapped, mean tree canopy cover ranged from 30% to 57%, mean herbaceous cover ranged from 2% to 10%, mean shrub cover ranged from 5% to 19%, and mean rock cover ranged from 3% to 14% [14].

In desert riparian floodplain habitat at Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona, white-throated woodrats were more abundant in an active riparian channel and floodplain that had lower tree cover and a higher percentage of forbs and rocks than a mesquite bosque. The active riparian channel and floodplain was dominated by desert willow, velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina), Arizona sycamore (Platanus wrightii), and velvet mesquite. The mesquite bosque was dominated by velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, and broom snakeweed [45].

Mean percent vegetation and ground cover in 2 white-throated woodrat habitats at Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona [45]
Microhabitat variable Active riparian channel and floodplain
(n=30 white-throated woodrats)
Mesquite bosque
(n=22 white-throated woodrats)
Mean percent cover (SE)
Trees 28.0 (3.4) 43.4 (2.6)
Shrubs 32.8 (2.3) 29.6 (2.0)
Forbs 4.0 (0.9) 0.03 (0.02)
Perennial grasses 1.8 (0.6) 6.5 (0.9)
Annual grasses 7.5 (1.3) 8.5 (1.2)
Bare soil 12.4 (1.4) 19.7 (1.4)
Gravel 5.0 (0.9) 3.8 (0.7)
Rock 20.9 (2.2) 3.7 (0.3)
Litter 48.8 (2.4) 75.8 (2.0)

In pinyon-juniper woodlands in Grant County, New Mexico, total overstory density was more important than overstory species composition in influencing white-throated woodrat occurrence. The greatest densities of white-throated woodrat houses were on plots containing 376 to 750 overstory plants per hectare [128]:

Density of white-throated woodrat houses in relation to combined tree and shrub density and herbaceous plant production in Grant County, New Mexico [128]
Overstory density
(plants/ha)
Herbaceous vegetation
(kg/ha)
Houses/ha
0-188 1973.2 0.4
189-375 756.0 0.4
376-562 583.9 3.4
563-750 483.8 3.3
751+ 360.0 2.6

White-throated woodrats prefer rocky areas within forested habitat, including ledges, slides, cliffs, and canyons [14,55,56,88]. In a ponderosa pine forest on the Beaver Creek Watershed in the Coconino National Forest, all white-throated woodrats were captured within 210 feet (64 m) of rocky habitat [55,56]. In ponderosa pine-Gambel oak habitat in the Hualapai Mountains, white-throated woodrat presence was positively associated with high (3% to 19%) rock cover [14].

Riparian: The white-throated woodrat is well adapted to xeric habitats [132] but may use natural [5,45,91] and human constructed riparian areas when available [4,35].

Natural: At Montezuma Castle National Monument, white-throated woodrat abundance was generally greater in an active riparian channel and floodplain than a mesquite bosque that was 7 to 13 feet (2-4 m) above the channel and floodplain and not subject to flooding. The active riparian channel and floodplain was dominated by desert willow, velvet ash, Arizona sycamore, and velvet mesquite. The mesquite bosque was dominated by velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, and broom snakeweed. Despite greater abundance of white-throated woodrat in the active riparian channel and floodplain, body weights of male white-throated woodrat were significantly (P<0.05) higher in the mesquite bosque, suggesting that it was "higher quality" habitat [45].

Although preferred habitat differed between male and female white-throated woodrats on the Santa Rita Experimental Range, Arizona, both genders showed some preference for riparian woodland typified by Arizona white oak and netleaf hackberry [91]:

Habitat and use of habitat by sex in the Santa Rita Experimental Range, Arizona [91]
Plant association Cover of plant associations (%) Females trapped (%) Males trapped (%) 
Acacia-velvet mesquite grassland 46.2 2.2 10.9
Netleaf hackberry woodland 4.1 7.8 10.9
Arizona white oak-riparian woodland
(contains netleaf hackberry)
8.3 41.1 29.7
Ocotillo grassland 15.9 5.6 23.4
Wait-a-minute–netleaf hackberry scrub 25.5 43.3 25.0

Human constructed: Construction of water developments in xeric habitat in Arizona may provide habitat and water for white-throated woodrats [4,35]. On the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona, white-throated woodrats were trapped most often in velvet mesquite thickets that grew closest to a human constructed water development. White-throated woodrats were trapped least often in habitat dominated by creosotebush and furthest away (distance not given) from the water development. No white-throated woodrats were trapped at a nearby dry water development [35].

White-throated woodrats also occupied a human constructed desert riparian habitat at No Name Lake on the Colorado River Indian Reservation on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. The area was cleared of nonnative tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) and 80% of the area was planted with native Fremont cottonwood and honey mesquite. Other vegetation included Goodding willow, blue paloverde (Parkinsonia florida), big saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis), and California palm (Washingtonia filifera) [4].

Coarse woody debris: Habitat with abundant coarse woody debris is preferred by white-throated woodrats for cover [45,97,106,116,128] (see Cover). In pinyon-juniper woodlands at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver site near Trinidad, Colorado, white-throated woodrats were captured most often in areas with coarse woody debris [106]. In an actively flooded riparian channel and floodplain at Montezuma Castle National Monument, white-throated woodrat occurrence was significantly (P<0.05) greater in areas containing coarse woody debris than areas without coarse woody debris [45].

In a pinyon-juniper woodland in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico, white-throated woodrats responded favorably to mechanical treatments that increased the amount of coarse woody debris. Of 4 treatments (untreated; bulldozed/piled/burned; bulldozed; and thinned), white-throated woodrats were most abundant on bulldozed plots and thinned plots, where slash accumulations were 2.5 to 3 times greater than on other plots. On bulldozed plots, Colorado pinyon, one-seed juniper, and alligator juniper trees were pushed over and left in place. On thinned plots, Colorado pinyon and juniper were cut to a minimum spacing of 20.0 feet (6.1 m) and left in place. The table below shows total numbers of woodrats on 4 plots [116]:

Total numbers of white-throated woodrats trapped on 4 pinyon-juniper sites, Gila National Forest, New Mexico [116]
Untreated woodland Bulldozed/piled/burned Bulldozed Thinned
117a¹ 156ab 205b 183b
¹Values followed by different letters are significantly different (P< 0.05).

White-throated woodrat density increased in a pinyon-juniper woodland in Grant County, New Mexico, where trees were uprooted and piled to improve livestock grazing. The felled trees provided white-throated woodrats with cover and building materials [128].
  • 1. Albert, Steven K.; Luna, Nelson; Chopito, Albert L. 1995. Deer, small mammal, and songbird use of thinned pinon-juniper plots: preliminary results. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Aldon, Earl F.; LoSapio, Carol, technical coordinators. Desired future conditions for pinon-juniper ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1994 August 8-12; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 54-64. [24797]
  • 4. Andersen, Douglas C. 1994. Demographics of small mammals using anthropogenic desert riparian habitat in Arizona. Journal of Wildlife Management. 58(3): 445-454. [70343]
  • 5. Andersen, Douglas C.; Nelson, S. Mark. 1999. Rodent use of anthropogenic and 'natural' desert riparian habitat, lower Colorado River, Arizona. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management. 15(5): 377-393. [35902]
  • 14. Boyett, William D. 2001. Habitat relations of rodents in the Hualapai Mountains of northwestern Arizona. Oshkosh, WI: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 75 p. Thesis. [60401]
  • 21. Brown, James H. 1968. Adaptation to environmental temperature in two species of woodrats, Neotoma cinerea and N. albigula. Miscellaneous Publications No. 135. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 48 p. [70299]
  • 22. Brown, James H.; Lieberman, Gerald A.; Dengler, William F. 1972. Woodrats and cholla: dependence of a small mammal population on the density of cacti. Ecology. 53 (2): 310-313. [70329]
  • 33. Cornely, John E. 1979. Ecological distribution of woodrats (genus Neotoma) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series Number 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 373-394. [69896]
  • 35. Cutler, Tricia L.; Morrison, Michael L. 1998. Habitat use by small vertebrates at two water developments in southwestern Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist. 42(2): 155-162. [69892]
  • 37. Davis, Russell; Sidner, Ronnie. 1992. Mammals of woodland and forest habitats in the Rincon Mountains of Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. Technical Report NPS/WRUA/NRTR-92/06. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Cooperative National Park Resources Study Unit. 62 p. [20966]
  • 45. Ellison, Laura E.; van Riper, Charles, III. 1998. A comparison of small-mammal communities in a desert riparian floodplain. Journal of Mammalogy. 79(3): 972-985. [60580]
  • 49. Finley, Robert B., Jr. 1958. The wood rats of Colorado: distribution and ecology. In: Hall, E. Raymond; Fitch, Henry S.; Tordoff, Harrison B., eds. University of Kansas publications. Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas, Museum of Natural History. 10(6): 213-552. [23865]
  • 55. Goodwin, John G., Jr.; Hungerford, C. Roger. 1979. Rodent population densities and food habits in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Res. Pap. RM-214. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [15888]
  • 56. Goodwin, John Gravatt, Jr. 1975. Population densities and food selection of small rodents in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 72 p. Thesis. [60403]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 91. Morrison, Michael L.; Kuenzi, Amy J.; Brown, Coleen F.; Swann, Don E. 2002. Habitat use and abundance trends of rodents in southeastern Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist. 47(4): 519-526. [60586]
  • 93. Newton, M. A. 1985. Patterns of house occupancy in woodrats: effects of sex and age. American Zoologist. 25 (4): 22A. [69895]
  • 94. Newton, Mark Alan. 1990. The ecology, behavior and evolutionary dynamics of the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 245 p. Dissertation. [69893]
  • 97. Olsen, Ronald W. 1973. Shelter-site selection in the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula. Journal of Mammalogy. 54: 594-610. [9886]
  • 104. Rainey, Dennis G. 1965. Observations of the distribution and ecology of the white-throated wood rat in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 64:27-42. [70194]
  • 106. Ribble, David O.; Samson, Fred B. 1987. Microhabitat associations of small mammals in southeastern Colorado, with special emphasis on Peromyscus (Rodentia). The Southwestern Naturalist. 32(3): 291-303. [15488]
  • 116. Severson, Kieth E. 1986. Small mammals in modified pinyon-juniper woodlands, New Mexico. Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 31-34. [2107]
  • 128. Turkowski, Frank J.; Watkins, Ross K. 1976. White-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) habitat relations in modified pinyon-juniper woodland of southwestern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 57(3): 586-591. [2370]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 137. Wood, John E. 1969. Rodent populations and their impact on desert rangelands. Bulletin 555. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 p. [4445]
  • 142. Wright, Michael E. 1973. Analysis of habitats of two woodrats in southern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 54(2): 529-535. [70345]
  • 88. Mills, James N.; Ksiazek, Thomas G.; Ellis, Barbara A.; Rollin, Pierre E.; Nichol, Stuart T.; Yates, Terry L.; Gannon, William L.; Levy, Craig E.; Engelthaler, David M.; Davis, Ted; Tanda, Dale T.; Frampton, J. Wyatt; Nichols, Craig R.; [and others]. 1997. Patterns of association with host and habitat: antibody reactive with Sin Nombre virus in small mammals in the major biotic communities of the southwestern United States. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 56(3): 273-284. [60591]

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Associated Plant Communities

More info for the terms: cactus, shrub, tree

In general, white-throated woodrats occupy desert grasslands [19], semiarid shrublands [48,58,88,99,134], saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) cactus communities [75], pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) woodlands, interior ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum) forests, and Madrean evergreen woodland (Pinus spp.-Quercus spp.) [88].

Colorado:

  • Shortgrass prairie dominated by blue grama (Bouteloua gracilis), galleta (Pleuraphis jamesii), broom snakeweed (Gutierrezia sarothrae), tree cholla (Cylindropuntia imbricata), plains prickly-pear (Opuntia polyacantha), and soapweed yucca (Yucca glauca)
  • Pinyon-juniper woodlands dominated by Colorado pinyon (P. edulis) and oneseed juniper (Juniperus monosperma) [106]

Utah:

  • Utah juniper/prickly-pear (J. utahensis/Opuntia spp.) [21]

Arizona:

  • Semi-desert grassland [37,68], characterized by nonnative Lehmann lovegrass (Eragrostis lehmanniana), three-awn (Aristida spp.), prickly-pear, ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), acacia (Acacia spp.), and velvet mesquite (Prosopis velutina) [91]
  • Big sacaton (Sporobolus wrightii) grasslands [12]
  • Southwestern desert shrub characterized by creosotebush (Larrea tridentata), mesquite (Prosopis spp.), catclaw acacia (Acacia greggii), prickly-pear, yucca (Yucca spp.), and tarbush (Flourensia cernua) [37,39,130]
  • Chaparral dominated by shrub live oak (Q. turbinella), menziesia (Menziesia spp.), and true mountain-mahogany (Cercocarpus montanus) [62]
  • Creosotebush-tarbush [130]
  • Creosotebush-triangle bursage (Ambrosia deltoidea) [94]
  • Saguaro-paloverde (Parkinsonia spp.) [75,85,129]
  • Paloverde-cacti-mixed scrub, dominated by yellow paloverde (Parkinsonia microphylla), teddybear cholla (Cylindropuntia bigelovii), bursage (Ambrosia spp.), and brittle bush (Encelia farinosa)
  • Madrean evergreen woodland
  • Interior ponderosa pine [28,55]
  • Interior ponderosa pine-Gambel oak (Q. gambelii) [14,37,52,56,105]
  • Oak-riparian woodlands, characterized by Arizona white oak (Q. arizonica) and netleaf hackberry (Celtis reticulata) and an understory of wait-a-minute (Mimosa aculeaticarpa var. biuncifera) [91]
  • Pinyon-juniper woodlands characterized by Colorado pinyon and one or more of the following: oneseed juniper, Utah juniper (J. osteosperma), alligator juniper (J. deppeana), and Rocky Mountain juniper (J. scopulorum) [1,48,50,57]
  • Riparian corridors characterized by Fremont cottonwood (Populus fremontii), Goodding willow (Salix gooddingii) and/or black willow (S. nigra) [4,5]

California:

  • Mesquite-creosotebush [104]

New Mexico:

  • Chihuahuan desert grasslands dominated by black grama (Bouteloua eriopoda) [31] with honey mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa) and creosotebush [84,95,137]
  • Honey mesquite-soaptree yucca (Y. elata)
  • Desert willow (Chilopsis linearis) [142]
  • Pinyon-juniper woodlands [40,128]
  • Riparian corridors characterized by Fremont cottonwood, honey mesquite, and creosotebush [142]

Texas:

  • Southwestern desert scrub dominated by creosotebush and tarbush [38]
  • Viscid acacia (Acacia neovernicosa)/cresotebush
  • Yucca
  • Green sotol/lechuguilla (Dasylirion leiophyllum/Agave lechuguilla) [121]

Mexico:

  • Ponderosa pine-oak woodlands [131]

Queretaro, Mexico:

  • Xerophytic shrublands dominated by palma china (Yucca decipiens), Machaonia coulteri, acacia, creosotebush, and prickly-pear [78]

  • 1. Albert, Steven K.; Luna, Nelson; Chopito, Albert L. 1995. Deer, small mammal, and songbird use of thinned pinon-juniper plots: preliminary results. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Aldon, Earl F.; LoSapio, Carol, technical coordinators. Desired future conditions for pinon-juniper ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1994 August 8-12; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 54-64. [24797]
  • 4. Andersen, Douglas C. 1994. Demographics of small mammals using anthropogenic desert riparian habitat in Arizona. Journal of Wildlife Management. 58(3): 445-454. [70343]
  • 5. Andersen, Douglas C.; Nelson, S. Mark. 1999. Rodent use of anthropogenic and 'natural' desert riparian habitat, lower Colorado River, Arizona. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management. 15(5): 377-393. [35902]
  • 12. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H. 1978. Response of birds, small mammals, and vegetation to burning sacaton grasslands in southeastern Arizona. Journal of Range Management. 31(4): 296-300. [3075]
  • 14. Boyett, William D. 2001. Habitat relations of rodents in the Hualapai Mountains of northwestern Arizona. Oshkosh, WI: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 75 p. Thesis. [60401]
  • 19. Brown, David E., ed. 1982. Biotic communities of the American Southwest--United States and Mexico. Desert Plants: Special Issue. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. 4(1-4): 1-342. [62041]
  • 21. Brown, James H. 1968. Adaptation to environmental temperature in two species of woodrats, Neotoma cinerea and N. albigula. Miscellaneous Publications No. 135. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 48 p. [70299]
  • 28. Cahalane, Victor H. 1941. A trap-removal census study of small mammals. Journal of Wildlife Management. 5(1): 42-67. [60588]
  • 31. Ceballos, Gerardo; Pacheco, Jesus; List, Rurik. 1999. Influence of prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on habitat heterogeneity and mammalian diversity in Mexico. Journal of Arid Environments. 41(2): 161-172. [66710]
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  • 38. Davis, W. B.; Robertson, J. L., Jr. 1944. The mammals of Culberson County, Texas. Journal of Mammalogy. 25 (3): 254-273. [61383]
  • 39. Dial, Kenneth P. 1988. Three sympatric species of Neotoma: dietary specialization and coexistence. Oecologia. 76(4): 531-537. [69901]
  • 40. Dice, Lee R. 1942. Ecological distribution of Peromyscus and Neotoma in parts of southern New Mexico. Ecology. 23(2): 199-208. [70346]
  • 48. Ffolliott, Peter F. 1999. Wildlife resources and their management in the southwestern United States. In: Ffolliott, Peter F.; Ortega-Rubio, Alfredo, eds. Ecology and management of forests, woodlands, and shrublands in the dryland regions of the United States and Mexico: perspectives for the 21st century. Co-edition No. 1. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona; La Paz, Mexico: Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas del Noroeste, SC; Flagstaff, AZ: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 181-195. [37056]
  • 50. Frischknecht, Neil C. 1975. Native faunal relationships within the pinyon-juniper ecosystem. In: The pinyon-juniper ecosystem: a symposium: Proceedings; 1975 May; Logan, UT. Logan, UT: Utah State University, College of Natural Resources, Utah Agricultural Experiment Station: 55-56. [974]
  • 52. Ganey, Joseph L.; Block, William M. 2005. Dietary overlap between sympatric Mexican spotted and great horned owls in Arizona. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-57WWW. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p. [61430]
  • 55. Goodwin, John G., Jr.; Hungerford, C. Roger. 1979. Rodent population densities and food habits in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Res. Pap. RM-214. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [15888]
  • 56. Goodwin, John Gravatt, Jr. 1975. Population densities and food selection of small rodents in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 72 p. Thesis. [60403]
  • 57. Gottfried, Gerald J.; Swetnam, Thomas W.; Allen, Craig D.; Betancourt, Julio L.; Chung-MacCoubrey, Alice L. 1995. Pinyon-juniper woodlands. In: Finch, Deborah M.; Tainter, Joseph A., eds. Ecology, diversity, and sustainability of the Middle Rio Grande Basin. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-268. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 95-132. [26188]
  • 58. Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. Neotoma albigula: White-throated wood rat. In: The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 751-754. [54709]
  • 62. Hanson, William R. 1957. Density of wood rat houses in Arizona chaparral. Ecology. 38(4): 650. [69898]
  • 68. Humphrey, R. R.; Mehrhoff, L. A. 1958. Vegetation changes on a southern Arizona grassland range. Ecology. 39(4): 720-726. [4215]
  • 75. Kricher, John C. 1993. A field guide to the ecology of western forests. The Peterson Field Guide Series No. 45. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company. 554 p. [21729]
  • 78. Leon-Paniagua, Livia; Romo-Vazquez, Esther; Morales, Juan Carlos; Schmidly, David J.; Navarro-Lopez, Daniel. 1990. Noteworthy records of mammals from the state of Queretaro, Mexico. The Southwestern Naturalist. 35(2): 231-235. [20804]
  • 84. Mathis, V. L.; Whitford, W. G.; Kay, F. R.; Alkon, P. U. 2006. Effects of grazing and shrub removal on small mammal populations in southern New Mexico, USA. Journal of Arid Environments. 66(1): 76-86. [61860]
  • 85. Mazurek, Ellen Jill. 1981. Effects of fire on small mammals and vegetation in the Upper Sonoran Desert. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 88 p. Thesis. [55763]
  • 91. Morrison, Michael L.; Kuenzi, Amy J.; Brown, Coleen F.; Swann, Don E. 2002. Habitat use and abundance trends of rodents in southeastern Arizona. The Southwestern Naturalist. 47(4): 519-526. [60586]
  • 94. Newton, Mark Alan. 1990. The ecology, behavior and evolutionary dynamics of the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 245 p. Dissertation. [69893]
  • 95. Norris, J. J. 1950. Effect of rodents, rabbits, and cattle on two vegetation types in semidesert range land. Bulletin 353. New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts, Agricultural Experiment Station. 23 p. [5130]
  • 99. Parmenter, Robert R.; Van Devender, Thomas R. 1995. Diversity, spatial variability, and functional roles of vertebrates in the desert grassland. In: McClaran, Mitchel P.; Van Devender, Thomas R., eds. The desert grassland. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press: 196-229. [29843]
  • 104. Rainey, Dennis G. 1965. Observations of the distribution and ecology of the white-throated wood rat in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 64:27-42. [70194]
  • 105. Reynolds, Richard T.; Block, William M.; Boyce, Douglas A., Jr. 1996. Using ecological relationships of wildlife as templates for restoring southwestern forests. In: Covington, Wallace; Wagner, Pamela K., technical coordinators. Conference on adaptive ecosystem restoration and management: restoration of Cordilleran conifer landscapes of North America: Proceedings; 1996 June 6-8; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-278. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 35-43. [26921]
  • 106. Ribble, David O.; Samson, Fred B. 1987. Microhabitat associations of small mammals in southeastern Colorado, with special emphasis on Peromyscus (Rodentia). The Southwestern Naturalist. 32(3): 291-303. [15488]
  • 121. Stangl, Frederick B., Jr.; Rodgers, Brenda E.; Haiduk, Michael W. 1999. Ecological observations on the malanistic woodrats (Neotoma albigula) of Black Gap Wildlife Management Area Brewster County of Trans-Pecos Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 51(1): 25-30. [69891]
  • 128. Turkowski, Frank J.; Watkins, Ross K. 1976. White-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) habitat relations in modified pinyon-juniper woodland of southwestern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 57(3): 586-591. [2370]
  • 129. Turner, Raymond M.; Alcorn, Stanley M.; Olin, George. 1969. Mortality of transplanted saguaro seedlings. Ecology. 50(5): 835-844. [1803]
  • 130. Valone, T. J.; Sauter, P. 2005. Effects of long-term cattle exclosure on vegetation and rodents at a desertified arid grassland site. Journal of Arid Environments. 61(1): 161-170. [60321]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 134. Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1980. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 745 p. [25194]
  • 137. Wood, John E. 1969. Rodent populations and their impact on desert rangelands. Bulletin 555. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 p. [4445]
  • 142. Wright, Michael E. 1973. Analysis of habitats of two woodrats in southern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 54(2): 529-535. [70345]
  • 88. Mills, James N.; Ksiazek, Thomas G.; Ellis, Barbara A.; Rollin, Pierre E.; Nichol, Stuart T.; Yates, Terry L.; Gannon, William L.; Levy, Craig E.; Engelthaler, David M.; Davis, Ted; Tanda, Dale T.; Frampton, J. Wyatt; Nichols, Craig R.; [and others]. 1997. Patterns of association with host and habitat: antibody reactive with Sin Nombre virus in small mammals in the major biotic communities of the southwestern United States. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. 56(3): 273-284. [60591]

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Neotoma albigula appears in a wide range of habitats including forest edges, scrubland forests, and low deserts, and can be found from 2135 m to 76 m in elevation. It occasionally builds dens in the caves of rocky hills, but more commonly prefers areas of extensive cholla and prickly pear cactus. Using cacti and other large desert plants as an anchor, N. albigula builds an extensive home using pieces of cacti, cow chips, sticks, bones, and any other found items, including garbage left by humans. It is known for its large and complex shelters. Averaging 8 feet in diameter and 2 to 3 feet in height, its shelters contain several chambers and underground tunnels which are used to escape predators. Each shelter also includes a small underground nest that serves as a retreat from daytime heat and as a place for females to raise their young. The size of the nest averages about 8 inches in diameter. It consists of soft materials such as grasses or shredded fibers. The average density of N. albigula shelters in heavily populated areas is between 5 to 15 per acre, but densities vary depending on resource availability. Neotoma albigula is a solitary species and houses are never cohabited by adults.

Range elevation: 76 to 2135 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; scrub forest

Other Habitat Features: caves

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Source: Animal Diversity Web

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Migration

Non-Migrant: Yes. At least some populations of this species do not make significant seasonal migrations. Juvenile dispersal is not considered a migration.

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make local extended movements (generally less than 200 km) at particular times of the year (e.g., to breeding or wintering grounds, to hibernation sites).

Locally Migrant: No. No populations of this species make annual migrations of over 200 km.

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Trophic Strategy

Comments: Feeds primarily on plant material, especially cactus but also mesquite beans and pods; bark and outer covering of mesquite, cacti, yucca, and catclaw; herbs; seeds; and some grasses. May store some food in den.

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Food Habits

More info for the terms: cacti, forb, shrubs

White-throated woodrats are opportunistic [56] and primarily herbivorous [31]. Their diet consists of seeds [56,83], fruits [134], green portions of plants [32,83,134,137], flowers [56], small amounts of grass [90,134], and occasionally beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Hymenoptera) [83,132,134], and reptiles [132]. Some of the most commonly consumed plants across the white-throated woodrat's range include mesquite flowers, leaves, seeds, and bark [83,90,104,115,132,134,137], cacti flowers, stems, and fruits [83,90,98,132], and yucca leaves [39,137].

Foods eaten by white-throated woodrats depend on availability. In Great Basin scrub desert and juniper woodlands in northern Arizona (Coconino County) white-throated woodrat diet was 29% yucca, 24% juniper, 7% rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), 6% sumac, 5% Apache-plume (Fallugia spp.), 4% sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), 4% saltbush, and 3% ephedra (Ephedra spp.) [39]. In the Lower Sonoran zone of southern Arizona (Santa Rita Experimental Range), cacti and mesquite were the primary foods eaten. For a complete list of foods eaten by white-throated woodrats in the Santa Rita Experimental Range, see Vorhies and Taylor [132]. In the southern Great Basin, Navajo yucca (Y. baileyi) is an important food for the white-throated woodrat [39].

White-throated woodrats require large amounts of water obtained through various xerophytic plants [39,98,131,132,134], especially cacti [98]. In Organ Pipe National Monument, white-throated woodrats relied heavily on teddybear cholla, buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa), jumping cholla, and goatnut (Simmondsia spp.) for water [98]. In Coconino County, white-throated woodrats obtained water from evergreen species (Ephedra spp., Yucca spp., and Juniperus spp.), which maintained a high year-round water content [39].

Seasonal dietary changes: The white-throated woodrat diet varies seasonally. In Coconino County, white-throated woodrats ate a variety of plants, including deciduous shrubs, during warm, wet months when plant moisture was high. During cool, dry months, their diet was restricted largely to evergreen plants. Regardless of season, white-throated woodrats preferred to eat evergreen species [39]. At Carrizo Creek, honey mesquite leaves, flowers, and fruits were the main foods eaten from the end of March until the end of summer. After honey mesquite lost its leaves, white-throated woodrats subsisted on stored beans, bark, and stems [115].

Food storage: Some white-throated woodrats store food in their houses [131,132,134]. Of 30 white-throated woodrat dens found in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, 77% contained stored food. The average weight of stored food was 2.2 pounds (1.0 kg)/den (range 0.1 to 9.3 pounds (0.05-4.2 kg)/den)). Most stored food consisted of mesquite beans and cacti and forb seeds [137]. In general, white-throated woodrats collect food within a 98- to 164-foot (30-50 m) radius of their dens [131].

  • 31. Ceballos, Gerardo; Pacheco, Jesus; List, Rurik. 1999. Influence of prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) on habitat heterogeneity and mammalian diversity in Mexico. Journal of Arid Environments. 41(2): 161-172. [66710]
  • 32. Cohn, Jeffrey P. 1996. The Sonoran Desert. Bioscience. 46(2): 84-87. [26607]
  • 39. Dial, Kenneth P. 1988. Three sympatric species of Neotoma: dietary specialization and coexistence. Oecologia. 76(4): 531-537. [69901]
  • 56. Goodwin, John Gravatt, Jr. 1975. Population densities and food selection of small rodents in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 72 p. Thesis. [60403]
  • 83. Martin, Alexander C.; Zim, Herbert S.; Nelson, Arnold L. 1951. American wildlife and plants. New York: McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. 500 p. [4021]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 98. Olsen, Ronald Werner. 1970. Secondary habitat selection in the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 180 p. Dissertation. [69897]
  • 104. Rainey, Dennis G. 1965. Observations of the distribution and ecology of the white-throated wood rat in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 64:27-42. [70194]
  • 115. Schwartz, Orlando A.; Bleich, Vernon C. 1975. Comparative growth in two species of woodrats, Neotoma lepida intermedia and Neotoma albigula venusta. Journal of Mammology. 56(3): 653-666. [70298]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 134. Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1980. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 745 p. [25194]
  • 137. Wood, John E. 1969. Rodent populations and their impact on desert rangelands. Bulletin 555. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 p. [4445]

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Food Habits

In desert habitats, Neotoma albigula feeds primarily on cholla and prickly pear cactus. Neotoma albigula is not an obligate drinker and acquires most of its water from cactus. Some observations estimate that the diet of N. albigula consists of up to 44% cacti. During periods of exceptionally high temperatures, N. albigula can eat upwards of 60% of its body mass in cacti per day. While this species prefers cacti, it is considered a generalist herbivore. Other important food items includes the beans and bark of mesquite plants, juniper branches and berries, various flowers, and yucca leaves. Neotoma albigula has also been observed consuming insects, small reptiles and mice, however, such observations are uncommon. Neotoma albigula is known to store food throughout its large shelter.

Animal Foods: mammals; reptiles; insects

Plant Foods: leaves; wood, bark, or stems; seeds, grains, and nuts; fruit; flowers

Foraging Behavior: stores or caches food

Primary Diet: herbivore (Folivore , Frugivore , Granivore , Lignivore)

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Associations

Predators

Predators of white-throated woodrat include weasels (Mustela spp.) [134], bobcats (Lynx rufus) [80,132,134], ringtails (Bassariscus astutus) [27,121,132,134], coyotes (Canis latrans) [132,134], American badgers (Taxidea taxus) [121,132], Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida) [51,52,105,123,133], great horned owls (Bubo virginianus) [52], bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi), and rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.) [132].
  • 27. Cahalane, Victor H. 1939. Mammals of the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona. Journal of Mammalogy. 20(4): 418-440. [60565]
  • 51. Ganey, Joseph L. 1992. Food habits of Mexican spotted owls in Arizona. The Wilson Bulletin. 104(2): 321-326. [19299]
  • 52. Ganey, Joseph L.; Block, William M. 2005. Dietary overlap between sympatric Mexican spotted and great horned owls in Arizona. Res. Pap. RMRS-RP-57WWW. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p. [61430]
  • 80. Luna Soria, Hugo; Lopez Gonzalez, Carlos A. 2005. Abundance and food habits of cougars and bobcats in the Sierra San Luis, Sonora, Mexico. In: Gottfried, Gerald J.; Gebow, Brooke S.; Eskew, Lane G.; Edminster, Carleton B., comps. Connecting mountain islands and desert seas: biodiversity and management of the Madrean Archipelago II; 2004 May 11-15; Tucson, AZ. Proceedings RMRS-P-36. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 416-420. [61772]
  • 105. Reynolds, Richard T.; Block, William M.; Boyce, Douglas A., Jr. 1996. Using ecological relationships of wildlife as templates for restoring southwestern forests. In: Covington, Wallace; Wagner, Pamela K., technical coordinators. Conference on adaptive ecosystem restoration and management: restoration of Cordilleran conifer landscapes of North America: Proceedings; 1996 June 6-8; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-GTR-278. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 35-43. [26921]
  • 121. Stangl, Frederick B., Jr.; Rodgers, Brenda E.; Haiduk, Michael W. 1999. Ecological observations on the malanistic woodrats (Neotoma albigula) of Black Gap Wildlife Management Area Brewster County of Trans-Pecos Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 51(1): 25-30. [69891]
  • 123. Szaro, Robert C.; Simons, Lee H.; Belfit, Scott C. 1988. Comparative effectiveness of pitfalls and live-traps in measuring small mammal community structure. In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 July 19-21; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 282-288. [7117]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 133. Ward, James P., Jr.; Block, William M. 1995. Mexican spotted owl prey ecology. In: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. Mexican spotted owl recovery plan supporting documents. Volume 2 - technical supporting information. Albuquerque, NM: U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service. 48 p. [68124]
  • 134. Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1980. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 745 p. [25194]

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Ecosystem Roles

The herbivorous diet of Neotoma albigula consists primarily of cacti, their fruit and other desert vegetation. Its diet can alter the vegetation profile of the local area and may facilitate seed dispersal. Shelter construction and fecal distribution can cause an increase in the amount of soluble salts, bicarbonates, and nitrates in the soil. Once abandoned, shelters can be inhabited by a range of species including other woodrats, desert reptiles , and numerous species of rodents. Parasites specific to N. albigula have not been documented.

Ecosystem Impact: disperses seeds; creates habitat

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Predation

Predators of Neotoma albigula include a number of mustelids such as weasels, skunks, and badgers. Additional mammalian predators include racoons, red fox, gray fox, bobcats, coyotes, and ringtails. Other important predators of N. albigula include snakes and Great-horned Owls

Altricial young are unable to identify predators by smell alone and treat predators as inanimate objects. Once their eyes are open, visual clues play an important role in predator detection for individuals as young as 26 days. In predatory experiments, the reaction of Neotoma albigula to predatory stimuli occurs in three steps: awareness of threat, foot thumping and increased agitation, and fast and random direction running. Structural adaptations to predation are thought to have lead to extensive tunnels and chambers in and around the habitation structures of N. albigula. Tunnels appear to function as a means of escape when faced with a potential threat in or near the nest. A large proportion of N. albigula's shelter is constructed from pieces of cacti. These spiny additions act as a deterrent for predators, without inhibiting the mobility of N. albigula. Nocturnal behavior likely reduces risk of predation. By remaining inside during the day, N. albigula avoids many predators including many bird species and other diurnal predators. The coloration of N. albigula likely helps camouflage them from potential predators as well.

Known Predators:

  • Weasels
  • Skunks
  • Badgers
  • Racoons
  • Red Fox
  • Gray Fox
  • Horned Owls
  • Bobcats
  • Coyotes
  • Ringtails
  • Snakes

Anti-predator Adaptations: cryptic

  • Davis, W. 1960. The Mammals of Texas. Austin, TX: The Information-Education Division of the Department of Wildlife Managment Agriculture and Mechanical College of Texas.
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General Ecology

Home ranges may overlap, but nest areas defended. In Arizona, home range averaged about a few hundred sq m (see Macedo and Mares 1988).

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Fire Management Considerations

More info for the terms: cacti, cover, fire frequency, fire management, frequency, grass/fire cycle, litter, low-severity fire, prescribed fire, shrubs, tree, wildfire, xeric

Specific fire management recommendations for the white-throated woodrat are few. White-throated woodrats commonly occur in xeric habitats [21,37,90,94,131,132,137] where fire frequency is generally low [70,87,100]. Low-severity fire may not greatly impact white-throated woodrats; however, moderate- to high-severity fires can damage or kill fire-sensitive trees, shrubs, and cacti that are required for shelter, food, and water [9,30,43,66,70,79,92,126,139,141]. In several studies, white-throated woodrat numbers decreased following wildfire [85,89] and prescribed fire [12,118], and postfire recovery was slow [118].

Desert vegetation appears to be most susceptible to burning during late spring and early summer, which is the hottest and driest time of the year in Arizona [26]. Because young white-throated woodrats are born during this time [22], they may be easily killed by burning.

Establishment of nonnative grasses, primarily red brome and buffelgrass, is altering FIRE REGIMES and habitats in the Sonoran Desert. Nonnative grasses provide abundant and continuous fuels, resulting in increased fire frequency. Since these species can increase in dominance following fire, repeated burning can convert native-dominated white-throated woodrat habitat into nonnative grassland. These grasslands are, in turn, likely to burn repeatedly. Thus, a grass/fire cycle is established. Reviews of the impacts of nonnative grasses on FIRE REGIMES and community composition, including descriptions of the nonnative grass/fire cycle, are available in these sources: [15,17,36,47,107]. Climate change may also negatively affect the white-throated woodrat if droughts become more frequent or severe, or if precipitation increases and results in the spread of nonnative grasses [10].

White-throated woodrats are less common in southwestern ponderosa pine forests and pinyon-juniper woodlands than in desert habitats. In southwestern ponderosa pine forests where fire has not occurred in decades, Harrington and Sackett [63] recommend prescribed burning in early spring or fall when temperatures and humidities are moderate, but burning during spring may harm young white-throated woodrats [81]. White-throated woodrats prefer low tree canopy cover and coarse woody debris [1,14,45,116] and may potentially benefit from thinning if coarse woody debris is left in place, though field observations have not been reported in regard to this possibility. Prescribed burning may also benefit white-throated woodrats by opening the canopy. Protection of shrubs, coarse woody debris, and litter may be needed during prescribed burning due to their importance to the white-throated woodrat.

  • 1. Albert, Steven K.; Luna, Nelson; Chopito, Albert L. 1995. Deer, small mammal, and songbird use of thinned pinon-juniper plots: preliminary results. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Aldon, Earl F.; LoSapio, Carol, technical coordinators. Desired future conditions for pinon-juniper ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1994 August 8-12; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 54-64. [24797]
  • 12. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H. 1978. Response of birds, small mammals, and vegetation to burning sacaton grasslands in southeastern Arizona. Journal of Range Management. 31(4): 296-300. [3075]
  • 14. Boyett, William D. 2001. Habitat relations of rodents in the Hualapai Mountains of northwestern Arizona. Oshkosh, WI: University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. 75 p. Thesis. [60401]
  • 21. Brown, James H. 1968. Adaptation to environmental temperature in two species of woodrats, Neotoma cinerea and N. albigula. Miscellaneous Publications No. 135. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 48 p. [70299]
  • 22. Brown, James H.; Lieberman, Gerald A.; Dengler, William F. 1972. Woodrats and cholla: dependence of a small mammal population on the density of cacti. Ecology. 53 (2): 310-313. [70329]
  • 37. Davis, Russell; Sidner, Ronnie. 1992. Mammals of woodland and forest habitats in the Rincon Mountains of Saguaro National Monument, Arizona. Technical Report NPS/WRUA/NRTR-92/06. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona, School of Renewable Natural Resources, Cooperative National Park Resources Study Unit. 62 p. [20966]
  • 45. Ellison, Laura E.; van Riper, Charles, III. 1998. A comparison of small-mammal communities in a desert riparian floodplain. Journal of Mammalogy. 79(3): 972-985. [60580]
  • 85. Mazurek, Ellen Jill. 1981. Effects of fire on small mammals and vegetation in the Upper Sonoran Desert. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 88 p. Thesis. [55763]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 94. Newton, Mark Alan. 1990. The ecology, behavior and evolutionary dynamics of the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 245 p. Dissertation. [69893]
  • 116. Severson, Kieth E. 1986. Small mammals in modified pinyon-juniper woodlands, New Mexico. Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 31-34. [2107]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 137. Wood, John E. 1969. Rodent populations and their impact on desert rangelands. Bulletin 555. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 p. [4445]
  • 17. Brooks, Matthew L.; Esque, Todd C. 2002. Alien plants and fire in desert tortoise (Gopherus agassizii) habitat of the Mojave and Colorado deserts. Chelonian Conservation Biology. 4(2): 330-340. [44468]
  • 81. Lyon, L. Jack; Telfer, Edmund S.; Schreiner, David Scott. 2000. Direct effects of fire and animal responses. In: Smith, Jane Kapler, ed. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on fauna. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 1. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 17-23. [44435]
  • 9. Benson, Lyman; Walkington, David L. 1965. The southern Californian prickly pears--invasion, adulteration, and trial-by-fire. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 52: 262-273. [5267]
  • 10. Betancourt, Julio L. 1996. Long- and short-term climate influences on Southwestern shrublands. In: Barrow, Jerry R.; McArthur, E. Durant; Sosebee, Ronald E.; Tausch, Robin J., compilers. Proceedings: shrubland ecosystem dynamics in a changing environment; 1995 May 23-25; Las Cruces, NM. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-GTR-338. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station: 5-9. [27028]
  • 26. Cable, Dwight R. 1973. Fire effects in southwestern semidesert grass-shrub communities. In: Proceedings, annual Tall Timbers fire ecology conference; 1972 June 8-9; Lubbock, TX. No. 12. Tallahassee, FL: Tall Timbers Research Station: 109-127. [4338]
  • 30. Cave, George Harold, III. 1982. Ecological effects of fire in the upper Sonoran Desert. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 124 p. Thesis. [12295]
  • 36. D'Antonio, Carla M.; Vitousek, Peter M. 1992. Biological invasions by exotic grasses, the grass/fire cycle, and global change. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics. 23: 63-87. [20148]
  • 43. Dwyer, Don D.; Pieper, Rex D. 1967. Fire effects on blue grama-pinyon-juniper rangeland in New Mexico. Journal of Range Management. 20: 359-362. [833]
  • 47. Esque, Todd C.; Schwalbe, Cecil R. 2002. Alien annual grasses and their relationships to fire and biotic change in Sonoran desertscrub. In: Tellman, Barbara, ed. Invasive exotic species in the Sonoran region. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum studies in natural history. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press; The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: 165-194. [48660]
  • 63. Harrington, Michael G.; Sackett, Stephen S. 1990. Using fire as a management tool in southwestern ponderosa pine. In: Krammes, J. S., technical coordinator. Effects of fire management of southwestern natural resources: Proceedings of the symposium; 1988 November 15-17; Tucson, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-191. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 122-133. [11280]
  • 66. Heirman, Alan A.; Wright, Henry A. 1973. Fire in medium fuels of west Texas. Journal of Range Management. 26(5): 331-335. [1119]
  • 70. Humphrey, Robert R. 1974. Fire in the deserts and desert grassland of North America. In: Kozlowski, T. T.; Ahlgren, C. E., eds. Fire and ecosystems. New York: Academic Press: 365-400. [14064]
  • 79. Loftin, Samuel Robert. 1987. Postfire dynamics of a Sonoran Desert ecosystem. Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 97 p. Thesis. [12296]
  • 87. McLaughlin, Steven P.; Bowers, Janice E. 1982. Effects of wildfire on a Sonoran Desert plant community. Ecology. 63(1): 246-248. [1619]
  • 89. Monroe, Lindsey M.; Cunningham, Stanley C.; Kirkendall, Lari Beth. 2004. Small mammal community responses to a wildfire on a central Arizona sky island. Journal of the Arizona Nevada Academy of Science. 37(2): 56-61. [60319]
  • 92. Neuenschwander, Leon F. 1976. The effect of fire in a sprayed tobosagrass-mesquite community on Stamford clay soils. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University. 137 p. Dissertation. [63962]
  • 100. Paysen, Timothy E.; Ansley, R. James; Brown, James K.; Gottfried, Gerald J.; Haase, Sally M.; Harrington, Michael G.; Narog, Marcia G.; Sackett, Stephen S.; Wilson, Ruth C. 2000. Fire in western shrubland, woodland, and grassland ecosystems. In: Brown, James K.; Smith, Jane Kapler, eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: Effects of fire on flora. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 2. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 121-159. [36978]
  • 107. Rice, Peter M.; McPherson, Guy R.; Rew, Lisa J. 2008. Fire and nonnative invasive plants in the Interior West bioregion. In: Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L., eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 141-173. [70332]
  • 118. Simons, Lee H. 1991. Rodent dynamics in relation to fire in the Sonoran Desert. Journal of Mammalogy. 72(3): 518-524. [19935]
  • 126. Thomas, P. A. 1991. Response of succulents to fire: a review. International Journal of Wildland Fire. 1(1): 11-22. [14991]
  • 139. Wright, Henry A. 1972. Shrub response to fire. In: McKell, Cyrus M.; Blaisdell, James P.; Goodin, Joe R., eds. Wildland shrubs-their biology and utilization: Proceedings of a symposium; 1971 July; Logan, UT. Gen. Tech. Rep. INT-1. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Intermountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 204-217. [2611]
  • 141. Wright, Henry A. 1986. Manipulating rangeland ecosystems with fire. In: Komarek, Edwin V.; Coleman, Sandra S.; Lewis, Clifford E.; Tanner, George W., compilers. Fire and smoke management symposium: Proceedings: 39th annual meeting of the Society for Range Management; 1986 February 13; Kissimmee, FL. Denver, CO: Society for Range Management: 3-6. [3092]
  • 15. Brooks, Matthew L. 2008. Plant invasions and FIRE REGIMES. In: Zouhar, Kristin; Smith, Jane Kapler; Sutherland, Steve; Brooks, Matthew L., eds. Wildland fire in ecosystems: fire and nonnative invasive plants. Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-42-vol. 6. Ogden, UT: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station: 33-45. [70467]

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Habitat-related Fire Effects

More info for the terms: cacti, cover, density, fire exclusion, fire frequency, fire regime, forbs, frequency, fuel, grass/fire cycle, litter, low-severity fire, natural, prescribed burn, prescribed fire, severity, shrub, shrubs, tree, wildfire

White-throated woodrats occur in a range of habitats, including ponderosa pine forests and pinyon-juniper woodlands, but are most commonly associated with desert shrublands in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts (see Preferred Habitat and Cover requirements). HABITAT RELATED FIRE EFFECTS in these desert plant communities are the focus of this section.

Presettlement FIRE REGIMES: Deserts typically burn less frequently than most ecosystems because little fuel is produced in the arid desert climate. The less fuel that is produced, the less frequent and less severe are any fires that may occur [70]. Desert shrub communities and desert grasslands had somewhat different historical fire regimes.

Presettlement FIRE REGIMES in desert shrub communities have been characterized by relatively infrequent, stand-replacement fires with return intervals in the range of 35 years to several centuries [41,42,100]. The dominance of long-lived, fire sensitive species in the Sonoran Desert suggests long fire-free periods [47,70]. Severe lightning storms, high air temperatures, and low relative humidity in the summer months create favorable conditions for fire in desert ecosystems [70]; however, fuels were historically sufficient to carry fire only after periods of above-average precipitation [70,87,111]. Although several perennial grasses occur in these communities, they are usually too sparse to provide a reliable fuel base or continuity of cover for carrying fire [70]. In years of exceptional rainfall, extensive areas of the Sonoran Desert may have supported sufficient annual grasses or forbs to carry fire [70,111]. The Chihuahuan Desert is somewhat similar to the Sonoran with regard to the rarity of fire. However, a greater proportion of low-growing shrubs and perennial grasses may have given the occasional fires a greater opportunity to spread, resulting in fire-return intervals at the lower end of the range in areas with a substantial grass component [41,42]. Although fire frequency and severity may be relatively low in desert shrublands, their effect on these ecosystems may be extreme [70,87].

Areas that support desert grassland may have a history of more frequent fire than desert shrublands, resulting in a grass subclimax [70]. Most fires probably occurred in summer, when thunderstorms moved into the region after the extended hot, dry period in May and June. Summer fires were particularly important for sustaining grasses at the expense of woody plants. Most perennial plants, including grasses, are susceptible to mortality from summer fires, but woody plants are especially susceptible to summer fires (review by [107]). Contemporary fires in desert shrubland often occur at the ecotone between desert shrublands and desert grasslands, particularly during years of above-average precipitation [70,87,111]. Boundaries between desert shrubland and desert grassland have probably shifted during the past century as grazing and fire exclusion have favored native woody plant dominance [70,72,113].

Altered FIRE REGIMES: Increased fire frequencies have been reported in recent decades in many parts of the desert Southwest (e.g., [28,110]). Human settlement and land management activities and associated vegetation changes during the past century have contributed to changes in these FIRE REGIMES. Establishment, spread, and dominance of nonnative grasses, especially in the Sonoran Desert, have altered fuel characteristics of some invaded sites such that fires occur more frequently and cover larger areas. Nonnative grasses provide a large biomass of continuous fine fuels that are more likely to ignite and carry fire than fuels of native species, especially following years of above-average precipitation [15,16,47,111]. Contemporary fires (during the past 2 decades) in the Sonoran Desert burn in May and June and are fueled to a great extent by nonnative annual grasses including red brome (Bromus rubens), Mediterranean grass (Schismus spp.), and cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum) [47]. More recently, buffelgrass, a shrubby nonnative perennial grass that grows in dense monocultures, has spread in part of the Sonoran Desert and fueld large, intense, severe fires. Buffelgrass accumulates large amounts of coarse, dense litter as it grows and senesces each year, and it burns easily, even when green. Unlike annual grasses, it is therefore not dependent on years of high precipitation to create large amounts of continuous, fine fuels. Buffelgrass fueled a fire so severe north of Hermosillo, Mexico, that the soil was scorched, the bedrock cracked, and dominant trees in the foothills thornscrub were not only killed but completely incinerated [46]. See the FEIS reviews of red brome and buffelgrass for more information on their effects on fuel characteristics and FIRE REGIMES.

While lightning was the dominant ignition source historically, in recent decades human-caused ignitions, such as those started by campfires, fireworks, and vehicle use, account for the majority of fires in the desert Southwest. For example, human-ignited fires accounted for almost 66% of fires in the Tonto National Forest of Arizona from 1955 to 1983, with a significant (P<0.05) increase in number of human-started fires during the study period [114].

Effects of fire on native vegetation: Fires fueled by nonnative grasses can be very severe, especially in terms of their impact on dominant, native, fire-sensitive plants [47,70,87,112]. In the Sonoran Desert, fire is clearly detrimental to upland desertscrub vegetation characterized by saguaro and yellow paloverde, and fire is potentially harmful to lowland desertscrub dominated by creosotebush and white bursage. Long-lived saguaro and paloverde are very sensitive to fire. They take decades to mature, and communities may require decades to centuries to reach their diverse species composition and physical structure after fire [47,112]. Creosotebush and bursage are more resilient, but repeated burning in communities dominated by these shrubs has converted large areas to annual grasslands in the desert Southwest [18,47,96].

Nonnative grass/fire cycle: Nonnative grasses often increase in dominance following fires [16,46,47,71,107]. As nonnative grasses increase in dominance following fire, repeated burning can convert native-dominated desert shrubland habitat into nonnative grassland. These grasslands are likely to burn repeatedly, establishing a nonnative grass/fire cycle. Reviews of the impacts of nonnative grasses on FIRE REGIMES and community composition, including descriptions of the nonnative grass/fire cycle, are available in these sources: [15,16,36,47,107].

As nonnative grasses establish and spread, fire-return intervals increase, and abundance of native shrubs decreases in desert shrublands, availability of white-throated woodrat habitat is likely to be negatively impacted, due to their dependence on native shrubs for food and cover.

Fire tolerance: Fire-related effects on some desert plants may be extreme, and fire recovery is generally long [100]. Shrubs that sprout from their base require several years to regrow after fire; shrubs that do not sprout may be completely killed [70]. Many shrubs and short-stature trees used by white-throated woodrats are vulnerable to fire [9,20,30,43,66,70,79,92,126,139]: White-throated woodrats commonly rely on creosotebush, mesquite, catclaw acacia, paloverde, and cacti for cover, food, and water (see Cover requirements and Food habits). Creosotebush [20,70], paloverde [30,79], saguaro [126], and prickly-pear [9,43,66,92,126,139,141] are typically killed by fire of any severity. It may take a century or more for saguaro and paloverde to develop from seed to large adult size [47,86]. Mesquite and catclaw acacia are more resistant to fire. Low-severity fires usually inflict no damage or partially kill the aboveground crown. High-severity fire may kill young plants, but mature plants are often top-killed and resprout [47,69,125,127,136]. For more information about fire effects on plants commonly used by white-throated woodrats, see the FEIS reviews for creosotebush, honey mesquite, velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, yellow paloverde, blue paloverde, saguaro, and plains prickly-pear.

Availability of cover and food influence the abundance of small mammals after fire [74]. White-throated woodrats build flammable houses at the base of vegetation, and fire may destroy existing houses and the materials needed to build new houses. Fire may also decrease the food supply for white-throated woodrats. According to Simons [118], white-throated woodrats may have difficulty recolonizing areas after fire.

White-throated woodrat response to fire: In the following studies, white-throated woodrats were negatively affected by wildfire and prescribed fire due to fire-induced mortality of vegetation necessary for cover, food, and water. White-throated woodrats tend to prefer unburned sites over burned sites during the first few postfire years [12,85,89,118]. Although long-term studies are lacking, the long recovery time needed for many plant species upon which they depend suggests that impacts may be long-lasting.

White-throated woodrat density was higher on unburned sites compared to burned sites in a saguaro-paloverde plant community on the Tonto National Forest, Arizona. The dominant tree was paloverde, the dominant shrub species was bursage, and the dominant grasses and forbs were red brome, cutleaf filaree (Erodium cicutarium), desert Indianwheat (Plantago ovata), and whitemargin sandmat (Chamaesyce albomarginata). The wildfire occurred in June and burned 260 acres (105 ha), and the study began during fall of postfire year 1. The lower density of white-throated woodrats on burned sites probably resulted from lack of cover. The few white-throated woodrats caught on the burned areas were on rocky slopes where cutleaf filaree and desert Indianwheat occurred [85]:

Number of white-throated woodrats captured on unburned and burned sites in Arizona [85]
Sample date Unburned Burned
October, postfire month 4 21 6
January, postfire month 7 5 2
May, postfire month 11 19 10
September, postfire month 15 5 2
January, postfire month 19 2 2

White-throated woodrats were rarely found on burned sites after wildfire in a desert sky island in the Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona. The spring wildfire killed more than 90% of the vegetation in a 237-km² area dominated by interior chaparral and desert scrub at low elevations (2,300-5,900 feet (700-1,800 m)) and Madrean evergreen woodland at higher elevations (>5,900 feet (1,800 m)). The study was conducted in postfire years 1, 2, and 3 [89]:

Number of white-throated woodrats captured in 3 postfire years on burned and unburned chaparral and Madrean evergreen woodland in the Mazatzal Mountains, Arizona [89]
Burned chaparral Unburned chaparral Burned Madrean evergreen woodland Unburned Madrean evergreen woodland
1 10 0 6

In 2 studies, white-throated woodrat populations decreased following prescribed fire [12,118]. In habitat dominated by paloverde, triangle bursage, and buckhorn cholla in the Tonto National Forest, Arizona, white-throated woodrat abundance and survival declined and remained low for 13 months after prescribed fire. The low-severity, early summer burn removed 50% to 73% of cover, and all 36 white-throated woodrat houses on the plot were destroyed. Prior to the burn, white-throated woodrat weekly survival was high (mean 0.96/week, n=4) on burned on unburned plots. At the time of the fire, survival of white-throated woodrats on the burned area was low (mean=0.20/week, n=not given). After the burn, survival remained low (mean=0.65/week, n=6) on the burned plot and high on the unburned plot (mean=0.97/week, n=6). Six months after the fire, no construction of new white-throated woodrat houses had occurred on burned sites, and 13 months after fire, only small, incomplete houses were built [118]:

Number of white-throated woodrats captured before and 13 months after a prescribed burn, Tonto National Forest, Arizona, P=<0.005 [118]
Sample period

Burned

Unburned

Captures Individuals Captures Individuals
Before fire 182 39 215 44
After fire 26 11 154 38

The number of white-throated woodrats significantly (P<0.05 ) decreased following 2 summer prescribed burns and 1 winter prescribed burn in ungrazed big sacaton grasslands on the Research Ranch in southeastern Arizona. For more information, see the Research Project Summary Effects of prescribed fires in semidesert plant communities in southeastern Arizona for more details [12].

The following table provides fire regime information on vegetation communities in which white-throated woodrats may occur, based on the habitat characteristics and species composition of communities white-throated woodrats are known to occupy. There is not conclusive evidence that white-throated woodrats occur in all of the habitat types listed, and some community types, especially those used rarely, may have been omitted.

Fire regime information for vegetation communities in which white-throated woodrat may occur. For each community, fire regime characteristics are taken from the LANDFIRE Rapid Assessment Vegetation Models [77]. These vegetation models were developed by local experts using available literature, local data, and/or expert opinion as documented in the PDF file linked from the name of each Potential Natural Vegetation Group listed below. Cells are blank where information is not available in the Rapid Assessment Vegetation Model.
California Southwest Great Basin
California
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
California Shrubland
Chaparral Replacement 100% 50 30 125
Southwest
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Southwest Grassland
Desert grassland Replacement 85% 12    
Surface or low 15% 67    
Desert grassland with shrubs and trees Replacement 85% 12    
Mixed 15% 70    
Shortgrass prairie with shrubs Replacement 80% 15 2 35
Mixed 20% 60    
Shortgrass prairie with trees Replacement 80% 15 2 35
Mixed 20% 60    
Plains mesa grassland Replacement 81% 20 3 30
Mixed 19% 85 3 150
Plains mesa grassland with shrubs or trees Replacement 76% 20    
Mixed 24% 65    
Southwest Shrubland
Desert shrubland without grass Replacement 52% 150    
Mixed 48% 165    
Southwestern shrub steppe Replacement 72% 14 8 15
Mixed 13% 75 70 80
Surface or low 15% 69 60 100
Southwestern shrub steppe with trees Replacement 52% 17 10 25
Mixed 22% 40 25 50
Surface or low 25% 35 25 100
Interior Arizona chaparral Replacement 100% 125 60 150
Gambel oak Replacement 75% 50    
Mixed 25% 150    
Southwest Woodland
Mesquite bosques Replacement 32% 135    
Mixed 67% 65    
Madrean oak-conifer woodland Replacement 16% 65 25  
Mixed 8% 140 5  
Surface or low 76% 14 1 20
Pinyon-juniper (mixed fire regime) Replacement 29% 430    
Mixed 65% 192    
Surface or low 6% >1,000    
Pinyon-juniper (rare replacement fire regime) Replacement 76% 526    
Mixed 20% >1,000    
Surface or low 4% >1,000    
Ponderosa pine/grassland (Southwest) Replacement 3% 300    
Surface or low 97% 10    
Southwest Forested
Riparian deciduous woodland Replacement 50% 110 15 200
Mixed 20% 275 25  
Surface or low 30% 180 10  
Ponderosa pine-Gambel oak (southern Rockies and Southwest) Replacement 8% 300    
Surface or low 92% 25 10 30
Great Basin
Vegetation Community (Potential Natural Vegetation Group) Fire severity* Fire regime characteristics
Percent of fires Mean interval
(years)
Minimum interval
(years)
Maximum interval
(years)
Great Basin Shrubland
Creosotebush shrublands with grasses Replacement 57% 588 300 >1,000
Mixed 43% 769 300 >1,000
Salt desert scrubland Replacement 13% 200 100 300
Mixed 87% 31 20 100
Basin big sagebrush Replacement 80% 50 10 100
Mixed 20% 200 50 300
Interior Arizona chaparral Replacement 88% 46 25 100
Mixed 12% 350    
Gambel oak Replacement 75% 50    
Mixed 25% 150    
Great Basin Woodland
Juniper and pinyon-juniper steppe woodland Replacement 20% 333 100 >1,000
Mixed 31% 217 100 >1,000
Surface or low 49% 135 100  
Great Basin Forested
Interior ponderosa pine Replacement 5% 161   800
Mixed 10% 80 50 80
Surface or low 86% 9 8 10
*Fire Severities
Replacement: Any fire that causes greater than 75% top removal of a vegetation-fuel type, resulting in general replacement of existing vegetation; may or may not cause a lethal effect on the plants.
Mixed: Any fire burning more than 5% of an area that does not qualify as a replacement, surface, or low-severity fire; includes mosaic and other fires that are intermediate in effects.
Surface or low: Any fire that causes less than 25% upper layer replacement and/or removal in a vegetation-fuel class but burns 5% or more of the area [61].
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Direct Effects of Fire

More info for the term: prescribed fire

White-throated woodrats appear to be susceptible to fire-related death [67,73,85,103,118]. Most woodrat species are reluctant to vacate their houses when threatened by fire [73,103]. Komarek [73] noted that some white-throated woodrats fled during a fire, but many appeared to be panic-stricken and remained immobile until the flames reached them or they were set afire. In a prescribed fire study conducted by Simons [118] in Arizona, white-throated woodrat survival dropped sharply during fire.

Because many white-throated woodrats construct houses at the bases of vegetation (see Cover), they may be more vulnerable to direct mortality than small mammals that occupy subterranean habitats [67,85,103,118]. Fires that occur during spring may be harmful to young white-throated woodrats due to limited mobility [81].

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  • 118. Simons, Lee H. 1991. Rodent dynamics in relation to fire in the Sonoran Desert. Journal of Mammalogy. 72(3): 518-524. [19935]

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Life History

More info for the terms: density, litter, tree

The white-throated woodrat is a small rodent measuring an average of 12.9 inches (32.8 cm) and weighing an average of 188 g for females and 224 g for males [59,82]. With the exception of lactating females, white-throated woodrats are solitary and occupy separate houses [93,94,98,131,132]. They are primarily nocturnal [21,27,132] and are active year-round [131]. According to Brown and Zeng [23], maximum longevity for the white-throated woodrat is 45 months, and according to Newton [94], maximum longevity is 72 months.

Mating: The mating season of white-throated woodrats varies across their range. In Arizona, the mating season is from January to August [132]. In Big Bend National Park, Texas, mating occurs at least from January to November and may occur year-round [102]. In California, the mating season is in February and March, according to Rainey [104], and in March, April, and possibly May, according to Schwartz and Bleich [115]. The mating system of the white-throated woodrat is polygynous [93,94].

Gestation period and litter size: Gestation for white-throated woodrats lasts 37 to 38 days [108], and young are most often born in spring and early summer [22]. In Arizona, mean litter sizes were 1.95 young/litter (n=93 litters) [132] and 2.5 young/litter (n=27 litters) [115].

Development: Young white-throated woodrats are weaned 62 to 72 days after birth and reach sexual maturity 166 to 176 days after birth [108,115]. Weaning and sexual maturity of the subspecies Neotoma albigula venusta in western Arizona, Sonora, and Baja California occur earlier: young are weaned between 27 and 40 days, and reach sexual maturity 80 to 87 days after birth [115]. In Joshua Tree National Monument, California, young white-throated woodrats establish their own dens by August and September, several months after birth [22].

Home range and density: Descriptions of the home home range of the white-throated woodrat are lacking. The home range of 1 immature female white-throated woodrat on the Coconino National Forest, Arizona, was 47,760 ft² (4,437 m²) [56].

White-throated woodrat density may be governed by the number of suitable plants available for shelter, food, and water [21,22,128,132,142]. In Joshua Tree National Monument, there was a significant (P<0.001) positive relationship between white-throated woodrat density and teddybear cholla density, which provided shelter, food, and water [22]. In the Mesilla Valley of southern New Mexico, white-throated woodrat density was more dependent on plants that provided sufficient water and food than on plants that provided shelter [142].

White-throated woodrat density in various plant communities
State Habitat Density (individuals/ha)
Arizona Ponderosa pine 9.8 [55]
Chaparral 12.8 [62]
Desert scrub 5.7 [90]
11.95 [132]
New Mexico Pinyon-juniper 5.8 [128]
Texas Honey mesquite-tobosa (Pleuraphis mutica) 32.0 [92]
  • 21. Brown, James H. 1968. Adaptation to environmental temperature in two species of woodrats, Neotoma cinerea and N. albigula. Miscellaneous Publications No. 135. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan, Museum of Zoology. 48 p. [70299]
  • 22. Brown, James H.; Lieberman, Gerald A.; Dengler, William F. 1972. Woodrats and cholla: dependence of a small mammal population on the density of cacti. Ecology. 53 (2): 310-313. [70329]
  • 27. Cahalane, Victor H. 1939. Mammals of the Chiricahua Mountains, Cochise County, Arizona. Journal of Mammalogy. 20(4): 418-440. [60565]
  • 55. Goodwin, John G., Jr.; Hungerford, C. Roger. 1979. Rodent population densities and food habits in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Res. Pap. RM-214. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [15888]
  • 56. Goodwin, John Gravatt, Jr. 1975. Population densities and food selection of small rodents in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 72 p. Thesis. [60403]
  • 59. Hall, E. Raymond; Genoways, Hugh H. 1970. Taxonomy of the Neotoma albigula-group of woodrats in central Mexico. Journal of Mammology. 51: 504-516. [70296]
  • 62. Hanson, William R. 1957. Density of wood rat houses in Arizona chaparral. Ecology. 38(4): 650. [69898]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 93. Newton, M. A. 1985. Patterns of house occupancy in woodrats: effects of sex and age. American Zoologist. 25 (4): 22A. [69895]
  • 94. Newton, Mark Alan. 1990. The ecology, behavior and evolutionary dynamics of the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State University. 245 p. Dissertation. [69893]
  • 98. Olsen, Ronald Werner. 1970. Secondary habitat selection in the white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula). Madison, WI: University of Wisconsin. 180 p. Dissertation. [69897]
  • 104. Rainey, Dennis G. 1965. Observations of the distribution and ecology of the white-throated wood rat in California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Science. 64:27-42. [70194]
  • 108. Richardson, William B. 1943. Wood rats (Neotoma albigula): their growth and development. Journal of Mammology. 24: 130-143. [70297]
  • 115. Schwartz, Orlando A.; Bleich, Vernon C. 1975. Comparative growth in two species of woodrats, Neotoma lepida intermedia and Neotoma albigula venusta. Journal of Mammology. 56(3): 653-666. [70298]
  • 128. Turkowski, Frank J.; Watkins, Ross K. 1976. White-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) habitat relations in modified pinyon-juniper woodland of southwestern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 57(3): 586-591. [2370]
  • 131. Vaughan, Terry A. 1990. Ecology of living packrats. In: Betancourt, Julio L.; Van Devender, Thomas R.; Martin, Paul S., eds. Packrat middens. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press: 14-27. [69902]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 142. Wright, Michael E. 1973. Analysis of habitats of two woodrats in southern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 54(2): 529-535. [70345]
  • 23. Brown, James H.; Zeng, Zongyong. 1989. Comparative population ecology of eleven species of rodents in the Chihuahuan Desert. Ecology. 70(5): 1507-1525. [9469]
  • 82. Macedo, Regina H.; Mares, Michael A. 1988. Neotoma albigula. Mammalian Species. 310: 1-7. [70333]
  • 92. Neuenschwander, Leon F. 1976. The effect of fire in a sprayed tobosagrass-mesquite community on Stamford clay soils. Lubbock, TX: Texas Tech University. 137 p. Dissertation. [63962]
  • 102. Pitts, Richard M.; Smolen, Michael J. 1988. Records extending the breeding season of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula, in southwestern Texas. Texas Journal of Science. 40 (4): 462-463. [69899]

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Life History and Behavior

Behavior

Communication and Perception

White-throated woodrats use scent to communicate with conspecifics. Males have specialized midventral glands that they use to scent mark selected locations. In females, this gland is poorly developed. Pheromones are used in social situations involving courtship, sexual, agonistic, hierarchical, and possibly territorial interactions. Pheromones present in feces are used to determine the sex of den occupants, thereby avoiding agonistic encounters between males. White-throated woodrats rely upon scent and visual cues to warn them of danger from predators. Altricial infants with unopened eyes cannot distinguish a predator by scent alone.

Communication Channels: acoustic ; chemical

Other Communication Modes: pheromones ; scent marks

Perception Channels: visual ; acoustic

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Cyclicity

Comments: Mostly nocturnal.

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Life Expectancy

Lifespan/Longevity

Little is known on the lifespan of Neotoma albigula. The few existing data suggests that members of this species can live between 3 and 5 years. Longest known lifespan in the wild is 6 years.

Range lifespan

Status: wild:
72 (high) months.

Typical lifespan

Status: wild:
45 (high) months.

  • Zeng, Z., J. Brown. 1989. Comparative Population Ecology of Eleven Species of Rodents in the Chihuahuan Desert. Ecology, 70/5: 1507-1525.
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Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

Maximum longevity: 9.5 years (captivity) Observations: One captive specimen lived for 9.5 years (Richard Weigl 2005).
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Reproduction

May breed any time of year in Coahuila; probably more than 1 litter/year. Breeds January-July in southern California. Litter size is 1-3, usually 2 (Macedo and Mares 1988).

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Mating the only time that Neotoma albigula engages in social behavior with adults conspecifics. Foot thumping often precedes copulation, although the purpose is unknown. During copulation, males and females have limited tactile contact and males do not clasp the female. The average copulatory lock lasts 30.1 seconds. It is hypothesized that this short lock has evolved to minimize predation risk as copulation can create vulnerability to attack. Mate selection behavior is not well understood. Neotoma albigula is promiscuous and no bonding occurs between mates after copulation.

Mating System: polygynandrous (promiscuous)

Reports on the breeding season of Neotoma albigula vary greatly. Some observations suggest year-round breeding, while others identify a period between January and September as breeding season. This discrepancy may be a result of differences in breeding seasons among the different regions occupied and/or subspecies. However, all sources agree that breeding slows during the hottest months of the year and that the majority of breeding takes place between January and June. Neotoma albigula can produce multiple litters per season, and females are sometimes found with offspring of two different ages in their dens. Average gestation lasts 38 days, however, gestation periods short as 30 days have been recorded. Litters range from 1 to 4 offspring, with an average of 2 offspring per litter. Average birth mass is 10.9 grams. Weaning occurs between 62 and 72 days, at which point offspring have already begun practicing shelter construction and consuming cacti, berries, and vegetation. In the wild, N. albigula reaches sexual maturity at around 180 days. In captivity, instances of reaching sexual maturity as young as 80 days in females and 101 days in males have been documented.

Breeding interval: Neotoma albigula can breed multiples times per season. Females have been discovered caring for neotatal young and partially mature young simultaneously.

Breeding season: Breeding begins in January but generally slows in mid-summer and may ceases in August or September depending on region and climate. Some researchers report year-round breeding.

Range number of offspring: 1 to 4.

Average number of offspring: 2.

Range gestation period: 30 to 38 days.

Average birth mass: 10.9 g.

Range weaning age: 62 to 72 days.

Average time to independence: 7 months.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 80 to 300 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 180 days.

Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 101 to 300 days.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 180 days.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; year-round breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); viviparous

Male N. albigula play no role in rearing the offspring. Little is known about pre-conception preparation for reproduction by the female, although den construction could be considered part of her investment. As is the case for all mammals, the mother uses her body to protect the offspring in utero. After birth, a female lactates and feeds the offspring her milk for 62 to 72 days. She cares for and protects her young for approximately 6 months until they have reached maturity and disperse to build their own houses. A female can have more than one litter residing in her home at one time, but only one litter nurses at a time. Some subspecies are known to wean and mature earlier than average, reducing parental investment.

Parental Investment: altricial ; female parental care ; pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Female); pre-independence (Protecting: Female)

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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Neotoma varia

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 1
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Statistics of barcoding coverage: Neotoma albigula

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 0
Specimens with Barcodes: 18
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Conservation

Conservation Status

National NatureServe Conservation Status

United States

Rounded National Status Rank: N5 - Secure

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NatureServe Conservation Status

Rounded Global Status Rank: G5 - Secure

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IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
LC
Least Concern

Red List Criteria

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2008

Assessor/s
Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T., Castro-Arellano, I., Lacher, T., Vázquez, E. & Arroyo-Cabrales, J.

Reviewer/s
McKnight, M. (Global Mammal Assessment Team) & Amori, G. (Small Nonvolant Mammal Red List Authority)

Contributor/s

Justification
This species is listed as Least Concern in view of its wide distribution, presumed large population, tolerance of a broad range of habitats, and because it is unlikely to be declining at nearly the rate required to qualify for listing in a threatened category.
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Information on state-level protection status of animals in the United States and Canada is available at NatureServe, although recent changes in status may not be included.

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Neotoma albigula is widespread and abundant throughout its geographic range. As a result, this species is classified as "least concern" on the IUCN's Red List of Threatened Species.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

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Population

Population
Reported densities range from 1 - 12.7 individuals/ha, and may be related to the number of suitable nest sites and occurrence of other woodrat species.

Population Trend
Stable
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Threats

Major Threats
None known.
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
There are no known conservation measures specific to this species. However, there are several protected areas within its range.
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Management Considerations

More info for the terms: cactus, competition, cover, density, frequency, fuel, marsh, presence, selection, shrub, shrubs

Forest management: White-throated woodrats may benefit from coarse woody debris [55,56,116,117] and dense herbaceous understory vegetation in riparian areas [5]. In pinyon-juniper and ponderosa pine habitats, managing for retention of coarse woody debris may benefit white-throated woodrats by creating cover [1,55,56,116,117]. In 3 studies, logging treatments that retained slash yielded the highest number of white-throated woodrats [1,116,128]. White-throated woodrats depend on dense herbaceous understory vegetation in riparian areas of the lower Colorado River, Arizona [5]. Andersen and Nelson [5] suggest that resource managers consider the understory as well as overstory vegetation when rehabilitating degraded desert riverine systems.

Livestock grazing: In many cases, overgrazing by domestic livestock in the southwestern United States has converted native perennial grasslands to desert shrub communities dominated by creosotebush, mesquite, acacia, tarbush, and longleaf ephedra (Ephedra trifurca) [6,64,138]. Conversion of grasslands to shrublands appears to have negative [84,130], positive [25,33,53,65], or neutral effects [65] on the white-throated woodrat. Published opinions differ regarding the impact of white-throated woodrats on livestock production [54,90,132,137].

Negative effects: Livestock may negatively affect small mammals by trampling shelter sites, compacting soil, competing for food, and/or altering the vegetative community in a manner that influences habitat selection [65]. According to Bock and others [13], the strongest effects of livestock grazing on small mammals are probably those mediated by changes in cover. In a desert shrubland dominated by encroaching creosotebush and tarbush in southeastern Arizona, white-throated woodrat abundance increased slightly as desertified, formerly overgrazed habitat recovered to native perennial grasses. After livestock were removed, it took at least 20 years for native vegetation to begin to increase [130]. On the Jornada Experimental Range, removal of honey mesquite shrubs in addition to grazing resulted in decreased capture rates of white-throated woodrats compared to ungrazed plots where honey mesquite was retained [84].

Positive effects: White-throated woodrat numbers may increase as a result of grazing. In Chihuahuan desert grasslands, livestock grazing has resulted in a decrease in grass abundance and an increase in shrubs such as honey mesquite and creosotebush [25,53], which may provide more cover and food for white-throated woodrats. A decrease in grass cover can reduce fire size and frequency due to decreased fine fuel biomass and continuity, thus allowing further spread of prickly-pear and mesquite. An increase of prickly-pear and mesquite may result in more shelter sites for white-throated woodrats [33,132].

No effect: White-throated woodrats did not show a clear difference in abundance on grazed versus ungrazed plots in a desert marsh, San Simon Ciénega, on the border of Arizona and New Mexico. This response may have been a result of white-throated woodrats exploiting brush piles that were unaffected by grazing [65].

White-throated woodrat influences on livestock production: Effects of white-throated woodrats on livestock production have not been studied systematically. Opinions expressed in the literature vary, and no recent research on this subject was found for this review. According to two citations from the 1940s [90,132], white-throated woodrats rarely eat grass and other vegetation regarded as desirable to livestock and pose little threat to the livestock industry. In 1969, however, Wood [137] indicated that white-throated woodrats compete with livestock for forage in New Mexico, negatively affecting livestock carrying capacity. Glendening and Paulsen's [54] 1955 paper asserts that because white-throated woodrats store numerous velvet mesquite seeds, they may lower grass density and increase velvet mesquite density, negatively affecting livestock production.

Climate change: A significant (P<0.005) increase in air temperature over an 8-year study period corresponded with a significant (P<0.05) decrease in mean body mass of white-throated woodrats. The study was conducted in the transition zone between Chihauhuan Desert, Great Basin shrub steppe, and Great Plains grassland at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico. According to the authors, further climatic change may have substantial impacts on the life history and ecology of white-throated woodrat at the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge. Smaller body size may force white-throated woodrats to depend on higher-quality food items which may increase energetic costs and competition when foraging [119].

Other: Herbicide may be used to control shrubs invading semidesert grasslands without impacting white-throated woodrat densities. Three years after application of tebuthiuron to control creosotebush in Arizona, white-throated woodrat densities were almost twice as high on tebuthiuron-treated plots compared to control plots [120].

In Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, the presence of an occupied white-throated woodrat midden may favor persistence of nonnative buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare). Effective buffelgrass control required a minimum of 2 years on an experimental plot where one of more persistence factors existed. Persistence factors on the plot included a large number of old buffelgrass plants, location adjacent to a large source population, a previous burn, and occupation by a white-throated woodrat. Sites with no persistence factors might require only one buffelgrass eradication visit followed by monitoring and maintenance [113].

  • 1. Albert, Steven K.; Luna, Nelson; Chopito, Albert L. 1995. Deer, small mammal, and songbird use of thinned pinon-juniper plots: preliminary results. In: Shaw, Douglas W.; Aldon, Earl F.; LoSapio, Carol, technical coordinators. Desired future conditions for pinon-juniper ecosystems: Proceedings of the symposium; 1994 August 8-12; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-258. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 54-64. [24797]
  • 5. Andersen, Douglas C.; Nelson, S. Mark. 1999. Rodent use of anthropogenic and 'natural' desert riparian habitat, lower Colorado River, Arizona. Regulated Rivers: Research and Management. 15(5): 377-393. [35902]
  • 6. Bahre, Conrad J. 1985. Wildfire in southeastern Arizona between 1859 and 1890. Desert Plants. 7(4): 190-194. [37739]
  • 13. Bock, Carl E.; Bock, Jane H.; Kenney, William R.; Hawthorne, Vernon M. 1984. Responses of birds, rodents, and vegetation to livestock exclosure in a semidesert grassland site. Journal of Range Management. 37(3): 239-242. [69356]
  • 25. Buffington, Lee C.; Herbel, Carlton H. 1965. Vegetational changes on a semidesert grassland range from 1858 to 1963. Ecological Monographs. 35: 139-164. [3383]
  • 33. Cornely, John E. 1979. Ecological distribution of woodrats (genus Neotoma) in Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas. In: Genoways, Hugh H.; Baker, Robert J., eds. Biological investigations in the Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas: Proceedings of a symposium; 1975 April 4-5; Lubbock, TX. Proceedings and Transactions Series Number 4. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service: 373-394. [69896]
  • 53. Gibbens, R. P.; McNeely, R. P.; Havstad, K. M.; Beck, R. F.; Nolen, B. 2005. Vegetation changes in the Jornada Basin from 1858 to 1998. Journal of Arid Environments. 61(4): 651-668. [52349]
  • 54. Glendening, George E.; Paulsen, Harold A., Jr. 1955. Reproduction and establishment of velvet mesquite as related to invasion of semidesert grasslands. Tech. Bull. 1127. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. 50 p. [3930]
  • 55. Goodwin, John G., Jr.; Hungerford, C. Roger. 1979. Rodent population densities and food habits in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Res. Pap. RM-214. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 12 p. [15888]
  • 56. Goodwin, John Gravatt, Jr. 1975. Population densities and food selection of small rodents in Arizona ponderosa pine forests. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona. 72 p. Thesis. [60403]
  • 64. Hastings, James R.; Turner, Raymond M. 1965. The changing mile: An ecological study of vegetation change with time in the lower mile of an arid and semiarid region. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona Press. 317 p. [10533]
  • 65. Hayward, Bruce; Heske, Edward J.; Painter, Charles W. 1997. Effects of livestock grazing on small mammals at a desert cienaga. The Journal of Wildlife Management. 61(1): 123-129. [70347]
  • 84. Mathis, V. L.; Whitford, W. G.; Kay, F. R.; Alkon, P. U. 2006. Effects of grazing and shrub removal on small mammal populations in southern New Mexico, USA. Journal of Arid Environments. 66(1): 76-86. [61860]
  • 90. Monson, Gale; Kessler, Wayne. 1940. Life history notes on the banner-tailed kangaroo rat, Merriam's kangaroo rat, and white-throated wood rat in Arizona and New Mexico. Journal of Wildlife Management. 4(1): 37-43. [12166]
  • 113. Rutman, Sue; Dickson, Lara. 2002. Management of buffelgrass on Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, Arizona. In: Tellman, Barbara, ed. Invasive exotic species in the Sonoran region. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum studies in natural history. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press; The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum: 311-318. [48674]
  • 116. Severson, Kieth E. 1986. Small mammals in modified pinyon-juniper woodlands, New Mexico. Journal of Range Management. 39(1): 31-34. [2107]
  • 117. Short, Henry L.; McCulloch, Clay Y. 1977. Managing pinyon-juniper ranges for wildlife. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-47. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station. 10 p. [2137]
  • 119. Smith, Felisa; Browning, Hillary; Shepherd, Ursula L. 1998. The influence of climate change on the body mass of woodrats Neotoma in an arid region of New Mexico, USA. Ecography. 21(2): 140-148. [70376]
  • 120. Standley, William G.; Smith, Norman S. 1988. Effects of treating creosotebush with Tebuthiuron on rodents. In: Szaro, Robert C.; Severson, Kieth E.; Patton, David R., technical coordinators. Management of amphibians, reptiles, and small mammals in North America; 1988 July 19-21; Flagstaff, AZ. Gen. Tech. Rep. RM-166. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiment Station: 422-424. [7130]
  • 128. Turkowski, Frank J.; Watkins, Ross K. 1976. White-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) habitat relations in modified pinyon-juniper woodland of southwestern New Mexico. Journal of Mammalogy. 57(3): 586-591. [2370]
  • 130. Valone, T. J.; Sauter, P. 2005. Effects of long-term cattle exclosure on vegetation and rodents at a desertified arid grassland site. Journal of Arid Environments. 61(1): 161-170. [60321]
  • 132. Vorhies, Charles T.; Taylor, Walter P. 1940. Life history and ecology of the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley, in relation to grazing in Arizona. In: Tech. Bull. No. 86. Tucson, AZ: University of Arizona, Agricultural Experiment Station: 455-529. [70292]
  • 137. Wood, John E. 1969. Rodent populations and their impact on desert rangelands. Bulletin 555. Las Cruces, NM: New Mexico State University, Agricultural Experiment Station. 17 p. [4445]
  • 138. Wright, H. A. 1986. Effect of fire on arid and semi-arid ecosystems--North American continent. In: Joss, P. J.; Lynch, P. W.; Williams, D. B., eds. Rangelands: a resource under siege: Proceedings of the 2nd international rangeland congress; 1985 May 13-18; Adelaide, Australia. New York: Cambridge University Press: 575-576. [51111]

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Relevance to Humans and Ecosystems

Benefits

Economic Importance for Humans: Negative

Neotoma albigula causes damage to cabins and summer homes where it may occasionally nest in the absence of humans. Damage to furniture and other items that woodrats incorporate into nests is not uncommon, and significant amounts of fecal waste have been left in absent residences. Additionally, N. albigula has been known to raid food stores that are poorly sealed.

Negative Impacts: household pest

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Economic Importance for Humans: Positive

There are no known positive effects of Neotoma albigula on humans, however, there have been rare reports of humans consuming N. albigula.

Positive Impacts: food

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike 3.0 (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)

© The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors

Source: Animal Diversity Web

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Wikipedia

White-throated woodrat

The white-throated woodrat (Neotoma albigula) is a species of rodent in the family Cricetidae.[2] It is found from central Mexico north to Utah and Colorado in the United States. It is primarily a western species in the United States, extending from central Texas west to southeastern California.[3] Since that work, populations east of the Rio Grande in New Mexico and Trans-Pecos Texas have been assigned to the white-toothed woodrat (Neotoma leucodon).[4]

The animal lives mostly in the Upper and Lower Sonoran life zones, occurring from pinyon-juniper woodland in higher country to desert habitats at lower elevations.

As with other species of woodrats, the white-throated woodrat constructs middens of a variety of materials such as sticks, cactus parts, and miscellaneous debris. An above-ground chamber within the midden contains a nest lined with grasses and kept free of feces. In non-rocky areas, the den usually is several feet in diameter and most commonly built around the base of a shrub that gives additional cover. In areas of rocky outcrops, crevices often are utilized, with sticks and other materials preventing free access to the nesting chamber.

Molecular data suggest that this species separated from other species of the Neotoma floridana group (Neotoma floridana, Neotoma micropus, Neotoma leucodon) about 155,000 years ago during the Illinoian Stage of the Pleistocene. This is consistent with the oldest known fossils from Slaton, Texas. This rodent is a common fossil in Southwestern cave faunas, with over 20 fossil localities of Pleistocene age known from New Mexico alone.

Distribution[edit]

The ranges of the white-throated woodrat and its subspecies are from the southeastern corners of Nevada and California across southern Utah and all of Arizona to southwestern Colorado, across west Texas and south to central Mexico.[5][6]

In general, white-throated woodrats occupy desert grasslands, semiarid shrublands,[9][13][14] saguaro (Carnegiea gigantea) cactus communities,[15] pinyon-juniper (Pinus-Juniperus spp.) woodlands, interior ponderosa pine (P. ponderosa var. scopulorum) forests, and Madrean evergreen woodland (Pinus spp.-Quercus spp.).[13]

Preferred habitat[edit]

The white-throated woodrat occupies a variety of plant communities from sea level to 9,200 feet (2,800 m) [7][16][17][18] but is most common in Sonoran and Chihuahuan desert grassland and desert shrub habitats.[7][16][18][19][20][21] The white-throated woodrat is generally associated with creosotebush, mesquite, cacti (particularly prickly-pear and cholla (Cylindropuntia spp.)), catclaw acacia, and paloverde. These plants provide cover and succulent plant food (>50% water by weight) (see section "Food habits"), the 2 most critical habitat requirements for white-throated woodrat.[7][16][18][19][20][22][23][24]

White-throated woodrats prefer habitat with low tree canopy cover,[25][26][27] high shrub [25][28] and rock cover,[13][25][28][29][30] and coarse woody debris.[17][27][31] When available, natural and human constructed riparian habitat may be used by white-throated woodrats.[26][32][33][34]

Tree, shrub, and rock cover[edit]

In several studies in Arizona, white-throated woodrats preferred low tree cover and high shrub, rock, and litter cover.[25][26][27] In Ponderosa pine-Gambel oak habitat in the Hualapai Mountains in Arizona, white-throated woodrat presence was negatively associated with high tree cover and high herbaceous cover and positively associated with high shrub and rock cover. On plots where white-throated woodrats were trapped, mean tree canopy cover ranged from 30% to 57%, mean herbaceous cover ranged from 2% to 10%, mean shrub cover ranged from 5% to 19%, and mean rock cover ranged from 3% to 14%.[25]

In desert riparian floodplain habitat at Montezuma Castle National Monument, Arizona, white-throated woodrats were more abundant in an active riparian channel and floodplain that had lower tree cover and a higher percentage of forbs and rocks than a mesquite bosque. The active riparian channel and floodplain was dominated by desert willow, velvet ash (Fraxinus velutina), Arizona sycamore (Platanus wrightii), and velvet mesquite. The mesquite bosque was dominated by velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, and broom snakeweed.[26]

In pinyon-juniper woodlands in Grant County, New Mexico, total overstory density was more important than overstory species composition in influencing white-throated woodrat occurrence. The greatest densities of white-throated woodrat houses were on plots containing 376 to 750 overstory plants per hectare:[31]

White-throated woodrats prefer rocky areas within forested habitat, including ledges, slides, cliffs, and canyons.[13][25][28][29] In a ponderosa pine forest on the Beaver Creek Watershed in the Coconino National Forest, all white-throated woodrats were captured within 210 feet (64 m) of rocky habitat.[28][29] In ponderosa pine-Gambel oak habitat in the Hualapai Mountains, white-throated woodrat presence was positively associated with high (3% to 19%) rock cover.[25]

Riparian[edit]

The white-throated woodrat is well adapted to xeric habitats [7] but may use natural [26][34][35] and human constructed riparian areas when available.[32][33]

Natural[edit]

At Montezuma Castle National Monument, white-throated woodrat abundance was generally greater in an active riparian channel and floodplain than a mesquite bosque that was 7 to 13 feet (2–4 m) above the channel and floodplain and not subject to flooding. The active riparian channel and floodplain was dominated by desert willow, velvet ash, Arizona sycamore, and velvet mesquite. The mesquite bosque was dominated by velvet mesquite, catclaw acacia, and broom snakeweed. Despite greater abundance of white-throated woodrat in the active riparian channel and floodplain, body weights of male white-throated woodrat were significantly (P<0.05) higher in the mesquite bosque, suggesting that it was "higher quality" habitat.[26]

Although preferred habitat differed between male and female white-throated woodrats on the Santa Rita Experimental Range, Arizona, both genders showed some preference for riparian woodland typified by Arizona white oak and netleaf hackberry:[34]

Human constructed[edit]

Construction of water developments in xeric habitat in Arizona may provide habitat and water for white-throated woodrats.[32][33] On the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge in southwestern Arizona, white-throated woodrats were trapped most often in velvet Mesquite Bosque thickets that grew closest to a human constructed water development. White-throated woodrats were trapped least often in habitat dominated by creosotebush and furthest away (distance not given) from the water development. No white-throated woodrats were trapped at a nearby dry water development.[33]

White-throated woodrats also occupied a human constructed desert riparian habitat at No Name Lake on the Colorado River Indian Reservation on the Arizona side of the Colorado River. The area was cleared of nonnative tamarisk (Tamarix spp.) and 80% of the area was planted with native Fremont cottonwood and honey mesquite. Other vegetation included Goodding's willow Salix gooddingii, blue paloverde (Parkinsonia florida), big saltbush (Atriplex lentiformis), and California fan palm (Washingtonia filifera).[32]

Coarse woody debris[edit]

Habitat with abundant coarse woody debris is preferred by white-throated woodrats for cover [17][26][27][31] (see Cover). In pinyon-juniper woodlands at the Piñon Canyon Maneuver site near Trinidad, Colorado, white-throated woodrats were captured most often in areas with coarse woody debris. In an actively flooded riparian channel and floodplain at Montezuma Castle National Monument, white-throated woodrat occurrence was significantly (P<0.05) greater in areas containing coarse woody debris than areas without coarse woody debris.[26]

In a pinyon-juniper woodland in the Gila National Forest, New Mexico, white-throated woodrats responded favorably to mechanical treatments that increased the amount of coarse woody debris. Of 4 treatments (untreated; bulldozed/piled/burned; bulldozed; and thinned), white-throated woodrats were most abundant on bulldozed plots and thinned plots, where slash accumulations were 2.5 to 3 times greater than on other plots. On bulldozed plots, Colorado pinyon, one-seed juniper, and alligator juniper trees were pushed over and left in place. On thinned plots, Colorado pinyon and juniper were cut to a minimum spacing of 20.0 feet (6.1 m) and left in place. The table below shows total numbers of woodrats on 4 plots:[27]

White-throated woodrat density increased in a pinyon-juniper woodland in Grant County, New Mexico, where trees were uprooted and piled to improve livestock grazing. The felled trees provided white-throated woodrats with cover and building materials.[31]

Cover requirements[edit]

White-throated woodrats must rely on self-constructed, ground-level shelter to lower the energetic costs of thermoregulation in extreme environments.[16][17][18][20][36] White-throated woodrats typically use 2 types of shelter: houses, constructed at the base of plants, and dens in rock crevices.[17][18][26][36][37] Other shelter types include holes and crevices in cutbanks along washes,[7][24] subterranean burrows of other animals,[16][24][30] piles of coarse woody debris, and human habitations and structures.[7] Houses and dens are often maintained by successive generations of white-throated woodrats.[17][36]

Houses are built by white-throated woodrats at the base of trees, shrubs, and cacti [14][17][18][36][37] or in piles of coarse woody debris.[17][27] White-throated woodrats prefer to construct houses at the bases of plants that provide both adequate shelter and food. Houses are constructed of various materials and are typically 3 to 10 feet (1–3 m) in diameter and up to 3 feet tall.[7] Dens function as houses but are located in rock crevices, rock fissures, and under boulder piles.[7][14][16][17][18][23][36][37]

Houses and dens enclose a system of runways and chambers, including the white-throated woodrat's nest.[17][36] The nest averages 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter and is composed of soft, fine material including grass, shredded prickly-pear fibers, or juniper bark.[7][18]

Building materials[edit]

White-throated woodrats use locally available building materials to construct houses.[20][37] In wooded areas, white-throated woodrats use sticks and other debris, and in deserts, parts of cacti, catclaw acacia, mesquite, and yucca are typically used.[18][37] Cactus parts are preferred building materials; preference for cacti is so strong that white-throated woodrat houses may not contain a proportionally representative sample of the surrounding plant community.[18][22] Other building materials used by white-throated woodrats across their range include feces, bones, and human objects.[7][17][18][20][22][23] Of 100 white-throated woodrat houses found on the Santa Rita Experimental Range, 75 different items were used for construction. The most commonly used building materials included mesquite, catclaw acacia, paloverde, desert ironwood (Olneya tesota), and creosotebush twigs; cholla joints and fruits; portions of prickly-pear where it was abundant; and juniper, pinyon pine, and oak twigs where they were abundant. Other items included horse, cow, and coyote dung, animal bones, stones, and human-discarded materials.[18]

Building materials are gathered near the white-throated woodrat's shelter. At McDowell Mountain Regional Park, Arizona, white-throated woodrats gathered 30% of house building materials within 33 feet (10 m) from their shelter. Houses and dens are altered and refurbished during the year using new and old building materials.[20]

In Guadalupe Mountains National Park and the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona, use of building materials depended on availability.[7][23] Juniper leaves and berries were used most often in a pinyon-juniper woodland, and mesquite leaves and pods and Christmas cactus (Cylindropuntia leptocaulis) joints were used most often in a desert scrub habitat.[23] In the Lower Sonoran desert of Arizona, white-throated woodrats favored some plants because of their structural and food values and favored other plants due to their availability. When available, cholla was used most often for building material due to its structural and food values. Mesquite sticks were used frequently. Although mesquite was seldom used for food, mesquite sticks were abundant at the base of plants so they were readily available. White bursage (Ambrosia dumosa) was very abundant and used for building material, even though plants were too small to shelter a white-throated woodrat den.[7]

Shelter sites[edit]

Cover near the ground is an important criterion for white-throated woodrat shelter sites. In northern portions of their range, white-throated woodrats tend to construct houses at the bases of trees;[7][16][23][31] in southern portions of their range, white-throated woodrats tend to construct houses at the bases of shrub-trees, shrubs,[7][19][23][38][39] or cacti.[7][20][22][23] When available, rocks are preferred by white-throated woodrats for shelter because they provide more protection from variations in ambient temperature than the base of plants.[17][18][36]

Plants[edit]

Although any tree, shrub, or cactus may be used by white-throated woodrats for shelter sites,[7] the most commonly used plants are discussed below.

White-throated woodrats construct houses at the base of live and dead fallen juniper trees in pinyon-juniper woodlands in Arizona,[7] New Mexico,[31] Utah,[16] and Texas.[23] The base of pinyons are occasionally used.[7]

Mesquite is often favored by white-throated woodrats for shelter in habitat dominated by mesquite in New Mexico,[19] Arizona,[16][19] California,[38] and Texas.[23] In habitat dominated by mesquite and creosote bush in San Diego County, California, all white-throated woodrat houses were located at the bases of honey mesquite. Twenty to 26-foot tall (6–8 m) honey mesquite were preferred over 3 to 10 foot (1–3 m) tall honey mesquite, probably because they provided more shelter and abundant, accessible food.[38] An exception in habitat dominated by mesquite occurred on the Santa Cruz river bottom near Tucson, Arizona, where white-throated woodrat houses were also built under netleaf hackberry, American black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), skunkbush sumac (Rhus trilobata), bear grass (Nolina spp.), or saguaro.[7]

In habitats where yucca are abundant white-throated woodrats use the base of yucca for shelter sites. On the Jornada Experiment Range in New Mexico, and the Black Gap Wildlife Management Refuge in Trans-Pecos Texas, white-throated woodrats built houses at the bases and fallen trunks of yucca.[7][39] Soaptree yucca was used by white-throated woodrats in the lower Sonoran zone of the Lordsburg Plains in New Mexico and the San Simon Valley in Arizona.[19]

Cholla and prickly-pear are often used by white-throated woodrats for cover because they provide excellent protection from predators, as well as food and water.[7][14][19][20][22] One of the factors in white-throated woodrat shelter-site selection in McDowell Mountain Regional Park was presence of teddy bear cholla.[20] In the Cholla Garden in Joshua Tree National Park, white-throated woodrats depended on stands of jumping cholla (Cylindropuntia fulgida) for cover,[22] and in the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona, most white-throated woodrat dens were found at the bases of cholla and prickly-pear.[7][19]

In Guadalupe Mountains National Park, white-throated woodrat distribution may be limited more by the presence of Mexican woodrats (N. mexicana) and the southern plains woodrat (N. micropus) than by habitat limitations. In areas not inhabited by Mexican woodrats and southern plains woodrats, the white-throated woodrat constructed houses at bases of prickly-pears. In areas where white-throated woodrats and southern plains woodrats lived in close proximity, white-throated woodrat constructed houses under honey mesquite.[23]

In the Lower Sonoran zone of Arizona and New Mexico, white-throated woodrats commonly used the bases of catclaw acacia for shelter.[7][19]

White-throated woodrats selected multiple-stemmed plants over single-stemmed plants and a dense, low canopy over a tall, thin canopy in habitat dominated by triangle bursage in Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and New Mexico. White-throated woodrats selected house sites in reverse order of plant abundance: yellow paloverde 18.1 plants/ha, 6 houses; desert ironwood, 7.6 plants/ha, 14 houses; and organ pipe cactus, 5.0 plants/ha, 21 houses. Yellow paloverde was probably selected for shelter least often because it is a single-stemmed tree with a tall canopy; organpipe cactus (Stenocereus thurberi) was probably selected most often because it is a multiple-stemmed plant with many cylindrical stems branching near the ground from a central trunk, providing more cover.[17][36]

Other shelter sites[edit]

In juniper woodlands in the high desert of southeastern Utah, white-throated woodrats occasionally denned under boulder crevices at the bases of vertical cliffs.[16] In habitat dominated by brittle bush in Saguaro National Monument, all 103 white-throated woodrat dens were located within jumbles of rocks or under boulders. Ninety-one dens were located under boulders >7 feet (2 m) in diameter, and 12 dens were located under boulders <7 feet in diameter.[17][36]

White-throated woodrats occasionally use river banks,[24] subterranean areas,[24][30] or caves [18] for shelter. In habitat dominated by honey mesquite and creosotebush at Carrizo Creek in San Diego County, white-throated woodrats sought cover either in river banks or subterranean burrows that were probably excavated by kangaroo rats (Dipodomys spp.). Lack of stick houses may have been due to a harsh summer climate, ease of burrowing in loose sand, scarcity of building materials, or adequate overhead protection by honey mesquite. River banks were 6 to 15 feet (2–5 m) high, and burrows were excavated at various heights from the bottom. Hole diameter was 3.5 to 7 inches (8.9–18 cm). White-throated woodrats also dwelled in subterranean burrows with as many as 8 openings, covered with a few small twigs, at the bases of honey mesquite.[24] In a similar habitat type in the Mesilla Valley of New Mexico, white-throated woodrats denned in sand dunes created by banner-tailed kangaroo rats (D. spectabilis) around honey mesquite.[30]

Timing of major life events[edit]

The white-throated woodrat is a small rodent measuring an average of 12.9 inches (32.8 cm) and weighing an average of 188 g for females and 224 g for males.[10] With the exception of lactating females, white-throated woodrats are solitary and occupy separate houses.[7][18][20][36] They are primarily nocturnal [7][16] and are active year-round.[18] According to Brown and Zeng,[40] maximum longevity for the white-throated woodrat is 45 months, and according to Newton,[20] maximum longevity is 72 months.

The mating season of white-throated woodrats varies across their range. In Arizona, the mating season is from January to August.[7] In Big Bend National Park, Texas, mating occurs at least from January to November and may occur year-round. In California, the mating season is in February and March, according to Rainey,[24] and in March, April, and possibly May, according to Schwartz and Bleich.[38] The mating system of the white-throated woodrat is polygynous.[20]

Gestation for white-throated woodrats lasts 37 to 38 days, and young are most often born in spring and early summer.[22] In Arizona, mean litter sizes were 1.95 young/litter (n=93 litters) [7] and 2.5 young/litter (n=27 litters).[38]

Young white-throated woodrats are weaned 62 to 72 days after birth and reach sexual maturity 166 to 176 days after birth.[38] Weaning and sexual maturity of the subspecies Neotoma albigula venusta in western Arizona, Sonora, and Baja California occur earlier: young are weaned between 27 and 40 days, and reach sexual maturity 80 to 87 days after birth.[38] In Joshua Tree National Monument, California, young white-throated woodrats establish their own dens by August and September, several months after birth.[22]

Descriptions of the home home range of the white-throated woodrat are lacking. The home range of 1 immature female white-throated woodrat on the Coconino National Forest, Arizona, was 47,760 ft² (4,437 m²).[29]

White-throated woodrat density may be governed by the number of suitable plants available for shelter, food, and water.[7][16][22][30][31] In Joshua Tree National Monument, there was a significant (P<0.001) positive relationship between white-throated woodrat density and teddybear cholla density, which provided shelter, food, and water.[22] In the Mesilla Valley of southern New Mexico, white-throated woodrat density was more dependent on plants that provided sufficient water and food than on plants that provided shelter.[30]

Food habits[edit]

White-throated woodrats are opportunistic [29] and primarily herbivorous [31]. Their diet consists of seeds,[29][37] fruits,[14] green portions of plants,[14][21][37] flowers,[29] small amounts of grass,[14][19] and occasionally beetles (Coleoptera), ants (Hymenoptera),[7][14][37] and reptiles.[7] Some of the most commonly consumed plants across the white-throated woodrat's range include mesquite flowers, leaves, seeds, and bark,[7][14][19][21][24][37][38] cacti flowers, stems, and fruits,[7][19][36][37] and yucca leaves.[21][41]

Foods eaten by white-throated woodrats depend on availability. In Great Basin scrub desert and juniper woodlands in northern Arizona (Coconino County) white-throated woodrat diet was 29% yucca, 24% juniper, 7% rabbitbrush (Chrysothamnus spp.), 6% sumac, 5% Apache-plume (Fallugia spp.), 4% sagebrush (Artemisia spp.), 4% saltbush, and 3% ephedra (Ephedra spp.).[41] In the Lower Sonoran zone of southern Arizona (Santa Rita Experimental Range), cacti and mesquite were the primary foods eaten. For a complete list of foods eaten by white-throated woodrats in the Santa Rita Experimental Range, see Vorhies and Taylor.[7] In the southern Great Basin, Navajo yucca (Y. baileyi) is an important food for the white-throated woodrat.[41]

White-throated woodrats require large amounts of water obtained through various xerophytic plants,[7][14][18][36][41] especially cacti.[36] In Organ Pipe National Monument, white-throated woodrats relied heavily on teddybear cholla, buckhorn cholla (Cylindropuntia acanthocarpa), jumping cholla, and goatnut (Simmondsia spp.) for water.[36] In Coconino County, white-throated woodrats obtained water from evergreen species (Ephedra spp., Yucca spp., and Juniperus spp.), which maintained a high year-round water content.[41]

The white-throated woodrat diet varies seasonally. In Coconino County, white-throated woodrats ate a variety of plants, including deciduous shrubs, during warm, wet months when plant moisture was high. During cool, dry months, their diet was restricted largely to evergreen plants. Regardless of season, white-throated woodrats preferred to eat evergreen species.[41] At Carrizo Creek, honey mesquite leaves, flowers, and fruits were the main foods eaten from the end of March until the end of summer. After honey mesquite lost its leaves, white-throated woodrats subsisted on stored beans, bark, and stems.[38]

Some white-throated woodrats store food in their houses.[7][14][18] Of 30 white-throated woodrat dens found in Doña Ana County, New Mexico, 77% contained stored food. The average weight of stored food was 2.2 pounds (1.0 kg)/den, range 0.1 to 9.3 pounds (0.05–4.2 kg)/den). Most stored food consisted of mesquite beans and cacti and forb seeds.[21] In general, white-throated woodrats collect food within a 98- to 164-foot (30–50 m) radius of their dens.[18]

Predators[edit]

Predators of white-throated woodrat include weasels (Mustela spp.),[14] bobcats (Lynx rufus),[7][14] ring-tailed cats (Bassariscus astutus),[7][14][39] coyotes (Canis latrans),[7][14] American badgers (Taxidea taxus),[7][39] Mexican spotted owls (Strix occidentalis lucida), Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus), bullsnakes (Pituophis catenifer sayi), and rattlesnakes (Crotalus spp.).[7]

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of Agriculture document "Neotoma albigula".

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  13. ^ a b c d Mills JN, Ksiazek TG, Ellis BA, Rollin PE, Nichol ST, Yates TL, Gannon WL, Levy CE, Engelthaler DM, Davis T, Tanda DT, Frampton JW, Nichols CR, Peters CJ, Childs JE (1997). "Patterns of association with host and habitat: antibody reactive with Sin Nombre virus in small mammals in the major biotic communities of the southwestern United States". The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene 56 (3): 273–84. PMID 9129529. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o Whitaker, John O., Jr. 1980. National Audubon Society field guide to North American mammals. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc
  15. ^ Kricher, John C. (1993) A field guide to the ecology of western forests. The Peterson Field Guide Series No. 45. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company.
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  17. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n Olsen, Ronald W. (1973). "Shelter-site selection in the white-throated woodrat, Neotoma albigula". Journal of Mammalogy 54 (3): 594–610. doi:10.2307/1378961. JSTOR 1378961. 
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Further reading[edit]

  • Harris, A. H. 1993. Quaternary vertebrates of New Mexico. pp. 179–107, in Vertebrate paleontology in New Mexico. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, Bulletin 2.
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Names and Taxonomy

Taxonomy

Comments: Neotoma albigula formerly included populations now regarded as a distinct species, Neotoma leucodon. A phylogenetic analysis of mtDNA sequences by Edwards et al. (2001) showed that the populations west of the Rio Grande and north of the Rio Conchos are distinct from those to the east and south. The western populations (retaining the name N. albigula), in fact, form a sister clade to N. floridana, and the eastern populations (Neotoma leucodon) are a sister species to N. micropus. However, Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) noted that denser geographic sampling across the river barriers identified by Edwards et al. (2001) is warranted to bolster evidence for specific separation and to refine distributional limits.

Includes the Mexican (Turner Island) form, N. varia, considered distinct by Wilson and Reeder (1993).

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Neotoma albigula Hartley is the scientific name for the white-throated woodrat, a member of the
Cricetidae family [7,135].

There are 15 subspecies of white-throated woodrats in the United States and Mexico [58,59]:

Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley

Neotoma albigula brevicauda Durrant

Neotoma albigula durangae J. A. Allen

Neotoma albigula laplataensis F.W. Miller

Neotoma albigula latifrons Merriam

Neotoma albigula leucodon Merriam

Neotoma albigula mearnsi Goldman

Neotoma albigula melanura Merriam

Neotoma albigula melas Dice

Neotoma albigula robusta Blair

Neotoma albigula seri Townsend

Neotoma albigula sheldoni Goldman

Neotoma albigula subsolana Alvarez

Neotoma albigula venusta True [58]

Neotoma albigula warreni [58,59]
  • 58. Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. Neotoma albigula: White-throated wood rat. In: The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 751-754. [54709]
  • 59. Hall, E. Raymond; Genoways, Hugh H. 1970. Taxonomy of the Neotoma albigula-group of woodrats in central Mexico. Journal of Mammology. 51: 504-516. [70296]
  • 135. Wilson, Don E.; Reeder, DeeAnn M., eds. 2005. Mammal species of the world: A taxonomic and geographic reference. 3rd ed. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Available: http://www.bucknell.edu/msw3/ [69038]
  • 7. Baker, Robert J.; Bradley, Lisa C.; Bradley, Robert D.; Dragoo, Jerry W.; Engstrom, Mark D.; Hoffmann, Robert S.; Jones, Cheri A.; Reid, Fiona; Rice, Dale W.; Jones, Clyde. 2003. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Occasional Papers No. 229. Lubbock, TX: Museum of Texas Tech University. 23 p. [50946]

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Synonyms

Neotoma intermedia angusticeps Merriam=

   Neotoma albigula albigula Hartley

Neotoma intermedia durangae Goldman=

    Neotoma albigula durangae J.A. Allen

Neotoma latifrons Merriam=

    Neotoma albigula latifrons Merriam

Neotoma leucodon Merriam

Neotoma montezumae Goldman

Neotoma leucodon zacatecae Goldman=

    Neotoma albigula leucodon Merriam

Neotoma intermedia melanura Merriam=

    Neotoma albigula melanura Merriam

Neotoma venusta True

Neotoma cumulator Mearns

Neotoma desertorum grandis Elliot=

    Neotoma albigula venusta True [58]
  • 58. Hall, E. Raymond. 1981. Neotoma albigula: White-throated wood rat. In: The mammals of North America. 2nd ed. Vol. 2. New York: John Wiley & Sons: 751-754. [54709]

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Common Names

white-throated woodrat

packrat
trade rat

western white-throated woodrat

white-throat woodrat

white-throated packrat

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