• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Introduction
 Beach cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus...
 Seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus...
 Southeastern beahc mouse (Peromyscus...
 Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis...
 Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus...
 Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus...
 Anastasia Island beace mouse (Peromyscus...
 Conclusions
 Literature cited






Group Title: Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit Technical Report no. 25
Title: Status survey of seven Florida mammals
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073776/00001
 Material Information
Title: Status survey of seven Florida mammals final report
Series Title: Technical report
Physical Description: 39 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Humphrey, Stephen R
Kern, William H
Ludlow, Mark S
Florida State Museum
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Publisher: Florida State Museum, University of Florida
Place of Publication: Gainesville Fla
Publication Date: [1987]
 Subjects
Subject: Mammals -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Mammal populations -- Florida   ( lcsh )
Genre: government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Statement of Responsibility: by Stephen R. Humphrey, William H. Kern, Jr. and Mark S. Ludlow.
General Note: "June 15, 1987."
General Note: "Research work order no. 37."
General Note: "Supported by: Jacksonville Endangered Office, U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2747 Art Museum Drive, Jacksonville, FL 32207."
Funding: This collection includes items related to Florida’s environments, ecosystems, and species. It includes the subcollections of Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit project documents, the Sea Grant technical series, the Florida Geological Survey series, the Coastal Engineering Department series, the Howard T. Odum Center for Wetland technical reports, and other entities devoted to the study and preservation of Florida's natural resources.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073776
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 001895257
oclc - 29063565
notis - AJX0526

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title page
    Table of Contents
        Table of contents
    Introduction
        Page 1 (MULTIPLE)
        Page 2
    Beach cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus)
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
    Seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus littoralis)
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
    Southeastern beahc mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris)
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis goffi)
        Page 18
        Page 19
    Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus aquaticus anastasae)
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
    Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus anastasae)
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Anastasia Island beace mouse (Peromyscus polionotus phasma)
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
    Conclusions
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
    Literature cited
        Page 38
        Page 39
Full Text














FINAL REPORT


TECHNICAL REPORT NO. 25

STATUS SURVEY OF SEVEN FLORIDA MAMMALS

by
Stephen R. Humphrey,
William H. Kern, Jr.,
and Mark S. Ludlow




Florida State Museum
University of Florida
Gainesville FL 32611







Supported by:

Jacksonville Endangered Species Office
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
2747 Art Museum Drive
Jacksonville FL 32207

through the
Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit
117 Newins-Ziegler Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville FL 32611



Research Work Order No. 37


June 15, 1987


_____ __~__l~~s~











TABLE OF CONTENTS



Introduction ......................................... ..... ..............................................................

Acknowledgments ..................................................................................................... ..... 1

Beach cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus)................................................. 3

Seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus littoralis)............................................................8

Southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris)........................................ 13

Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis goffi).................................................................... 18

Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus aquaticus anastasae)...................................................... 20

Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus anastasae)...................................23

Anastasia Island beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus phasma)..................................... 29

Conclusions........................................................................................................................... 34

Literature Cited.................................................................................................................. 38











STATUS SURVEY OF SEVEN FLORIDA MAMMALS


Introduction

The purpose of this project is to determine the status of seven subspecies of

Florida mammals that are known to occur only on barrier islands, barrier beaches, or

other isolated areas on the east coast of Florida. The seven mammals are the beach

cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus), the seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon

hispidus littoralis), the southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris),

Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis goffi), the Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus

aquaticus anastasae), the Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus

anastasae), and the Anastasia Island beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus phasma).

The areas where these animals occur have undergone rapid residential and

commercial development, and it is possible that one or more subspecies might be

threatened with extinction. All seven animals are formally under review (U.S. Fish and

Wildlife Service 1985). Current information on the status of these taxa would be useful

to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in deciding whether any of them should be listed

under the Endangered Species Act. The primary objective of this study was to

determine the current survival status, geographical distribution, and nature of the habitat

occupied by these seven subspecies of Florida mammals. An additional objective was to

report on the taxonomy of the subspecies, document sampling effort and success and

summarize information on population abundance and distribution, describe the occupied

habitat, and evaluate threats to survival of the existing populations.

Acknowledgments

This study was made possible by the leadership of David Wesley, Michael

Bentzien, and John Paradiso of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the facilitation of

Franklin Percival of the Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, and the

cooperation of Don Wood of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission and







2


Edwin Conklin and James Stevenson of the Florida Department of Natural Resources.

We appreciate the interest and cooperation of numerous individuals in the field,

including Judy Lamia, for help with field work; Steven Vehrs, Merritt Island National

Wildlife Refuge; Lt. Col. Wayne K. Penley, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station; and the

managers and staff of Anastasia State Recreation Area, Fort Matanzas National

Monument, and Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area.










Beach cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus)

Background.--The beach cottontail rabbit (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus) was

described by A. H. Howell (1939). It is known only from the type locality, "Oak

Lodge," on the East Peninsula opposite Micco, Brevard Co., Florida. This site was the

residence of Mr. C. F. Latham when collecting was done in the 1880s and 1890s; habitats

there were described by Chapman (1889a). Now it is in the town of Floridana Beach.

The area has been heavily developed in recent years. Though the common name "Micco

cottontail" has been applied to this subspecies, this is a poor choice because Micco is not

on the barrier island of interest and is the type locality (the Sebastian River near Micco)

of a mainland subspecies of cottontail.

Methods.--The distribution of cottontail rabbits was documented by driving along

roads at night and spotting them with auto headlights and hand-held spotlights. Starting

time ranged from 2000 to 2200 hrs, and surveys always ended before 2400 hrs.

Results.--Road searches for cottontails are summarized in Table 1. Other

observations follow. A cottontail was found dead on the road on 4 July 1986 about 30

meters inside the front gate of Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (SW 1/4 of Sec. 12, T

23 S, R 37 E). Two cottontails were seen while checking the trapline at site MI-6 on 9

July 1986. Rabbit tracks occurred on the beach and rabbit scat was common in nearby

palmetto scrub at site MI-9, Indian Harbor Beach east of AIA on 16 July 1986. Two

cottontails were seen on 23 July 1986 at the sewage treatment plant near site MI-12, just

north of Sebastian Inlet. Other mammals noted during night driving were opossums,

armadillos, marsh rabbits, a red fox, raccoons, a bobcat, white-tailed deer, and feral

pigs.

Additionally, a cottontail presumed to be of another subspecies was seen in a

recently burned area south of the boardwalk at Turtle Trail Beach (site IR-2), Indian

River Co., on 30 July 1986. Sebastian Inlet separates this population from the barrier

island from which S. f. ammophilus was described. Cottontails of uncertain subspecific










Table 1. Observations of beach cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus ammophilus) on

Merritt Island and the Canaveral Peninsula, including its northward extension and its

southward extension (Eau Gallie Beach = East Peninsula).


Road length
(km)


Date


Number of
individuals


Location


2 July 1986

8 July 1986


8 July

8 July

9 July


1986

1986

1986


9 July 1986


9 July 1986


9 July 1986


9 July 1986

10 July 1986


10 July

10 July

10 July


10 July

10 July

10 July


17 July

17 July


1986

1986

1986


1986

1986

1986


1986

1986


4.7 KSC, beach road from Pad A to Pad B

10.3 KSC, AIA beach road from SR 402 to
Air Force/NASA boundary

1.8 KSC, side road west of AIA

6.4 Saturn Causeway from A1A to Kennedy Parkway

4.8 Heavy Launch Road, from Central Control
Road to Cape Road

0.3 CCAFS, Cape Road southwest from Heavy
Launch Road

2.1 ICBM Road, from Heavy Launch Road to
Cape Road

6.4 Central Control Road and Lighthouse Road,
from Security Office to Road Block 7

1.3 Camera Road, from Lighthouse Road to beach

13.7 KSC, Kennedy Parkway southbound, from NASA
Security Gate 4 to NASA Parkway

KSC, Schwartz Road and road to dump

KSC, Static Test Road

13.7 Kennedy Parkway northbound, from NASA
Parkway to Security Gate 4

NASA Causeway

7.2 MINWR, SR 402 to Playalinda Beach

7.2 CNS, Canaveral Beach Road from Security
Gate 4 to Camera Pad 10

7.1 KSC, TEL-4 Road, Kennedy Parkway to KARS

4.0 KSC, Kennedy Parkway southbound, from
TEL-4 Road to NASA Parkway











17 July 1986 2.4 Jerome Road east of Kennedy Parkway 0

17 July 1986 1.9 Ransom Road east of Kennedy Parkway 0

18 July 1986 7.2 Canaveral National Seashore 1



designation also were common on Anastasia Island, St. Johns Co., which is separated

from the New Smyrna Beach extension of the Canaveral Peninsula by Matanzas Inlet.

Taxonomy.--Bangs (1898) referred cottontails from Oak Lodge to Lepus

sylvaticus sylvaticus (= Sylvilagus floridanus mallurus). Allen (1890) named mainland

cottontails from near Micco, Sebastian River, Brevard Co., as Lepus sylvaticus floridanus

(= Sylvilagus floridanus floridanus). Nelson (1909) assigned all Florida specimens to

these two subspecies. On the basis of 8 specimens from Oak Lodge, Howell designated

S. f. ammophilus as slightly paler in color of the upper parts, sides, head, ears, and

nucchal patch than S. f. floridanus, which occurs on most of the Florida mainland south

of St. Augustine, St. Johns Co., and Blitches Ferry, Citrus Co. (Schwartz 1956). Howell

found ammophilus to be similar in skull measurements to floridanus, except that the

auditory bullae of ammophilus averaged smaller. In a quantitative comparison of Florida

subspecies, Schwartz (1956) chose to retain ammophilus, and he described a new

subspecies, S. f. paulsoni, from the coastal ridge of Palm Beach and Dade Counties. He

judged that the four Florida subspecies were distinguishable on the basis of both color

and skull measurements. He referred a single specimen from Merritt Island to

floridanus rather than ammophilus.

When Howell (1939) described the beach cottontail (S. f. ammophilus), he did not

attempt a review of geographic variation of the species, on which any taxonomic

arrangement should be based. Schwartz (1956) undertook such a review, but his

interpretation assumes geographic discontinuities in size. He stated that Atlantic coastal

populations (ammophilus, paulsoni) are discontinuously paler than the mainland

populations (mallurus, floridanus), and he showed that means of some measurements










differ among the named subspecies. An alternative interpretation is that size diminishes

clinally southward and toward the Atlantic coast. Schwartz considered ammophilus and

paulsoni to be convergently pale in adaptation to light-colored coastal soils. Still lacking

is a test of what is now the current a priori taxonomic grouping against clusters of

specimens defined by statistical similarity. The best interpretation of the differences

Howell noted will be debatable until such a comparison is made. Until then, the

conservative tradition of taxonomy directs that the existing taxonomic arrangement be

used.

Based on the taxonomic work to date, for purposes of this study we assumed that

any cottontail on Canaveral Peninsula was referable to the beach subspecies. We

assumed that any cottontail observed on Merritt Island or on the barrier island south of

Sebastian Inlet was referable to S. f. floridanus. The northern end of Merritt Island

actually has narrow connections to both the mainland and Canaveral Peninsula. The

unsatisfactory nature of these assumptions shows why more rigorous study is needed.

Distribution and Habitat.--Habitat includes dune grassland, palmetto scrub,

highway right-of-ways, and off-road access trails on government property.

Excellent, extensive habitat for cottontails occurs on the Canaveral Peninsula

north toward New Smyrna Beach and south to Port Canaveral (including Canaveral

National Seashore, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and part of Kennedy Space

Center). However, which subspecies occupies this area is debatable. The northern part

of East Peninsula, south through Melbourne Beach, is heavily developed and retains little

cottontail habitat. South of Melbourne Beach, much good cottontail habitat remains.

Most suburban development here is single-family dwellings with yards and often with

remnants of native vegetation, and at least five parcels are in public ownership (Spessard

Holland Park, Sebastian Inlet State Park, and three tracts purchased in 1986 .from the

Disney Corporation by Brevard County).







7


Survival Status.--Pending a better definition of the distribution of this

subspecies, its survival appears to be secured by the substantial amount of habitat

protected from development by public ownership.

Management.--No management issues are apparent at present.

Research Needs.--A review of geographic variation in Florida cottontails is

needed, in which the current a priori taxonomic grouping is compared with clusters of

specimens defined by statistical similarity. Whether or not the taxonomic arrangement is

changed as a result, this analysis is necessary to ascertain the actual distribution of the

beach subspecies.










Seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus littoralis)

Background.--The seashore cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus littoralis) was

described by Chapman (1889b). It is known only from the type locality, on the East

Peninsula, opposite Micco, Brevard Co., Florida. Collecting in February and March

1889, Chapman stayed at Oak Lodge, the residence of C. F. Latham, which is now the

site of Floridana Beach. This barrier island has been undergoing rapid development in

recent years. The subspecies has been termed the "Micco cotton rat", but this name is

confusing because Micco is on the mainland and may be occupied by S. h. floridanus

(though Bangs included Micco specimens in littoralis).

Methods.--Sampling was conducted on Merritt Island, the Canaveral Peninsula,

and East Peninsula on 2-25 July 1986 (Figure 1). Sites MI-I, 2, and 3 were located on

Cape Kennedy Air Force Station. Sites MI-4, 5, 6, 7, 10, and 11 were located on

Kennedy Space Center. Sites MI-12 and MI-13 were in the northern portion of

Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area. We think but are not certain that Sites MI-14, 15,

and 16 were located on Disney Corporation properties purchased in late 1986 by Brevard

County as park land. Trapping was done with lines of 40 large Sherman traps baited

with rolled oats. To prevent mortality and saturation of traps by cotton rats, which are

active at all times of day, traps were set in the late afternoon and checked and closed in

the morning. Traplines were run for 1 to 3 nights.

Results.--The results of trapping in coastal Brevard Co. are listed in Table 2.

Sigmodon were widespread and abundant.

Taxonomy.--Though the geographic variation of species of Sigmodon has

received much attention (Baker 1969, Dalby and Lillevik 1969, Zimmerman 1970), that

of subspecies of S. hispidus has not. A total of six subspecies is recognized for Florida

alone. All were named before the days of rigorous statistical comparison, and most were

distinguished only on the basis of color. As a result, the current taxonomic




































































Figure 1. Locations of sampling sites on Merritt Island, the
Peninsula, and southward to Sebastian Inlet.


S MI-14
FLORIDANA
BEACH


ICCO MI-13
MI-12


SEBASTIAN INLET



Canaveral Peninsula, East

























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arrangement is a mess, and there is little basis for confidence in the validity of S. h.

littoralis.

For purposes of this study we assumed that specimens from East Peninsula, the

Canaveral Peninsula, and Merritt Island all are referable to littoralis. Other subspecies

from the coast or islands of Florida include insulicola, from Sanibel, Captiva, and Pine

Islands, Manasota Key, and the adjacent mainland, described by Howell (1943);

spadicipygus, from Cape Sable, described by Bangs (1898); and exsputus, from the

Lower Keys, described by Allen (1920). In littoralis, spadicipygus, and insulicola,

intergradation with mainland forms was noted in the original descriptions. While

intergradation of recognizable forms in zones of contact is consistent with the subspecies

concept, there is much disagreement among authors as to the location of the zones of

intergradation of spadicipygus with adjacent subspecies, as noted by Layne (1974). The

taxonomic status of numerous other island populations of S. hispidus in Florida is

unknown, such as from the barrier islands of Indian River and St. Lucie Counties (Table

3). The comments of Bangs (1898) regarding cotton rats from the Georgia Sea Islands

are revealing: "The cotton rat upon Ossabaw Island is very pallid, and has a strong

tendency to have pale cinnamon under parts. Were it not for the great local variation in

color presented by this species, I should feel tempted to recognize this form by name."

Two inferences from these comments are worthwhile. First, the great local variation in

color needs to be considered in a comprehensive review of geographic variation in cotton

rats of Florida. Second, the possibility should be considered (as Schwartz concluded in

the case of cottontails, above) that the many isolated and relatively unrelated populations

of cotton rats on coastal islands and barrier beaches convergently have acquired pale

color in adaptation to the pale substrate; in this case, application of subspecies names is

a dubious exercise.

Distribution and Habitat.--Because the subspecific taxonomy of hispid cotton rats

is so poorly known, there is no objective basis to judge the distribution of S. h.











littoralis. Technically this form is known only from the type locality. The population

also "probably occurs some distance north and south thereof on the coastal beach" (Hall

1981). Chapman evidently had a much wider distribution in mind; he speculated that

the subspecies occurred on "the coasts of Southern Florida," and and discussed the color

of "an example of littoralis from Pine Island, in Charlotte Harbor" (off the Gulf coast,

Lee Co.). Citing specimens ranging from Miami (Dade Co.) to Anastasia Island (St.

Johns Co.), Bangs (1889) stated the range of littoralis as "from about Miami north to

northeastern Florida." Dalby and Lillevik (1969) referred their only Florida specimen,

from Boca Raton (Palm Beach Co.), to littoralis. The records of S. hispidus in Table 3

presumably would have been referred to littoralis by Chapman and Bangs, even though

their ranges are separated from East Peninsula by water gaps. Howell (unpublished) was

of the opinion that littoralis was confined to East Peninsula, but his comparisons were

no better than earlier ones.

Survival Status.--Even if future study of geographic variation shows S. h.

littoralis to be a valid subspecies occurring only on East Peninsula, the population

probably can survive indefinitely. Available habitat includes the strip of dune grassland

and palmetto scrub along the ocean, strips of right-of-way grassland along US AIA and

other roads, and at least six parcels of public land (Patrick Air Force Base Missile Test

Center, Spessard Holland Park, Sebastian Inlet State Park, and three tracts purchased in

1986 from the Disney Corporation by Brevard County.

Management.--Only if littoralis proves to be a valid subspecies confined to East

Peninsula might management become an important issue. In that event, the public land

probably would support an aggregate population of a few thousand animals. One

management practice then needing attention would be the frequency and timing of

mowing highway right-of-ways (Wilkins and Schmidly 1980).

Research Needs.--See Taxonomy.










Southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris)

Background.--The southeastern beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus niveiventris)

was described by Chapman (1889c). It occurs on the sand dunes along the beach from

Ponce (Mosquito) Inlet south to Hollywood Beach. Bangs (1898) found it to be

"extremely abundant on all the beaches of the east peninsula from Palm Beach at least to

Mosquito [Ponce] Inlet", and Howell (unpublished manuscript) found that it was

abundant in the 1930s. I. J. Stout (personal communication) also found it to be abundant

in the middle and late 1970s on Cape Canaveral. Most other populations had

disappeared by the early 1970s (M. H. Smith, personal communication).

Methods.--Sampling was conducted on the Canaveral Peninsula and East

Peninsula on 2-25 July 1986 (Figure 1). Sites MI-1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16

were in habitat suitable for beach mice. Sampling was conducted on the barrier islands

from Sebastian Inlet to Hutchinson Island from 30 July to 1 August 1986. Site IR-1 was

located in the southern portion of Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area. Site IR-2 was

located at Turtle Trail Public Beach Access. Site SL-2 was located in Pepper Park. Site

HI-1 was located in Surfside Beach Park. Trapping was done with lines of 40 large

Sherman traps baited with rolled oats. To prevent mortality and saturation of traps by

cotton rats, which are active at all times of day, traps were set in the late afternoon and

checked and closed in the morning. Traplines were run for 1 to 3 nights.

Results.--Southeastern beach mice were captured in Canaveral National Seashore,

Cape Kennedy Air Force Station, the southern half of Sebastian Inlet State Recreation

Area, Turtle Trail Public Beach Access, and Pepper Park (Tables 2 and 3, Figure 1). No

beach mice were captured on East Peninsula, including the northern half of Sebastian

Inlet State Recreation Area.










Table 3. Rodents captured from Sebastian Inlet to Hutchinson Island (Indian River and
St. Lucie counties), 30 July to 1 August 1986.

Adjusted
trap Peromyscus Peromyscus Sigmodon Trap
Site nights gossypinus polionotus hispidus success


IR-1 69 4 2 10 0.232
IR-2 113.5 3 3 10 0.141
SL-1 76.5 0 0 0 0.0
SL-2 107.5 0 1 0 0.009
SL-3 79 0 0 11 0.139
HI-1 78.5 0 0 0 0.0

Total 524 7 6 31 0.084


Taxonomy.--Chapman (1889) named the southeastern beach mouse as Hesperomys

niveiventris, from the East Peninsula, opposite Micco, Brevard Co., Florida. Elsewhere

he describes doing this field work at Oak Lodge, the residence of C. F. Latham. Bangs

(1896) applied the name Peromyscus polionotus to the beach and oldfield mice, and

Osgood (1909) referred the southeastern population to subspecies niveiventris. This

taxonomic arrangement has not been reviewed since then; Bowen (1968) dealt only with

Gulf coastal subspecies of P. polionotus.

Osgood pointed out that niveiventris shared the unusual character of venter hair

being white from tips to roots with a small group of Peromyscus: P. p. phasma, rhoadsi,

and albifrons; and P. leucopus ammodytes, which occupies the coastal grassland of

Monomoy Island, Massachusetts. Osgood noted niveiventris to be intermediate in

paleness between the subspecies polionotus and phasma. Bowen discussed the color of

ventral hair in some other coastal subspecies of P. polionotus.

Distribution and Habitat.--The many subspecies of P. polionotus occupy either

mainland oldfields or coastal dunes. The latter "beach" mice are restricted to sand dunes

vegetated mainly by sea oats (Uniola paniculata) and dune panic grass (Paspalum










amarulum), and to the adjoining scrub, characterized by oaks (Quercus sp.) and sand

pine (Pinus clausa) or palmetto (Serenoa repens).

Nowhere in the range of beach mice is more extensive open scrub adjacent to

dune grassland occupied by beach mice than on Merritt Island. Here Extine and Stout

(1987) documented a reciprocal, shifting habitat preference of P. p. niveiventris for

patchy and dense palmetto scrub relative to dune grassland habitat, especially during

stable low population density and during exponential population growth. This

preference was least strong during peak and declining population density. This result

indicates that juxtaposition of coastal scrub and dune grassland provides much better

habitat for beach mice than does the grassland alone. The scrub here includes sea grape

(Coccoloba uvifera) and wax myrtle (Myrica cerifera) as co-dominant plants; their mast

may diversify food resources for rodents considerably. In support of this notion, it is

worth remembering the abundance of oldfield mice in early seral stages of scrub in the

Ocala National Forest.

The dune grassland at Cape Canaveral is excellent, extensive habitat for beach

mice, and the high numbers captured there (Sites MI-I, 2) reflected a high-density

population. Northward, the habitat narrows to a single dune in Canaveral National

Seashore, where population density appears to be lower (Sites MI-4, 6). Sites selected on

East Peninsula and the barrier islands from Sebastian Inlet to Hutchinson Island were the

only substantial and accessible tracts of dune grassland. The results suggest that beach

mice no longer occur in the severely fragmented habitat along East Peninsula. The

sampling from Sebastian Inlet south to Hutchinson Island suggest that only a few, small,

fragmented populations of beach mice remain there. The southern part of the historic

range includes Jupiter Island, Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Hillsboro Inlet, and Hollywood

Beach (Bangs 1889, Osgood 1909, Howell unpublished). The southernmost recent record

evidently is from Hutchinson Island in 1969 (Sealander et al. 1971).











Survival Status.--The southeastern beach mouse should be able to survive

indefinitely on Cape Kennedy Air Force Station. The same may be true at Canaveral

National Seashore, though beach erosion there may become a threat. The status of

populations to the south is more tenuous, although they may continue to persist in the

southern half of Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area and Pepper Park.

We found no evidence of house mice (Mus musculus) colonizing beach mouse

habitat, but activity of house cats (Felis cattus) was widespread. The effect of these two

exotic species on survival of beach mouse populations is speculative but may be quite

important (Humphrey and Barbour 1981). Either a competitor or a predator alone can

eliminate another species, and the effects of a competitor and a predator together would

be additive. The two processes operate differently--predation stimulates reproduction of

most prey species, whereas competition suppresses reproduction of most species. Perhaps

the threat of house mice has not materialized because management of these public lands

does not promote refuse from intensive recreational uses.

Management.--Because the only populations of beach mice with any chance of

survival are those on public land, management should focus on habitat acquisition and

management. The apparent absence of beach mice from the northern portion of

Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area suggests that the local population could be enlarged

considerably by introduction from the southern portion.

Management of existing public land for populations of southeastern beach mice

should focus on minimizing changes in the habitat of dune grassland that would favor

survival of house mice. Because house mice now are absent from these tracts, the thrust

of this management should be to avoid changes in public use that would establish points

of introduction or refuge for house mice or that would increase the amount of garbage

available to colonizing house mice as food. All facilities supporting visitors to public

lands should be located in habitats inland of the dune grassland. Routine, intensive










rodent control at park and concession buildings, and frequent and thorough refuse

removal practices could be helpful. Control of free-ranging house cats could be helpful.

Plans to substantially expand concessionaire operations at Sebastian Inlet State

Recreation Area (Orlando Sentinal, January 29, 1987, page D-12) should be examined

carefully for potential impacts on the beach mouse population there.

Research Needs.--It would be useful to monitor the populations at Sebastian Inlet

State Recreation Area and Pepper Park. Additional survey work is needed in the few

remaining patches of habitat south of Hutchinson Island.

Basic research is needed to determine whether competition really occurs between

beach mice and house mice, and if so, on how strong it is. Comparable research is

needed to determine whether predation by house cats affects beach mice. Applied

research is needed on how park management practices affect house mice and house cats.










Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis goffi)

Background.--Goff's pocket gopher (Geomys pinetis goffi) was described by

Sherman (1944). It is known only from the type locality at Eau Gallie, Brevard Co., on

a strip of fine sands between the Indian and St. Johns rivers. Humphrey (1981)

presented substantial evidence that this subspecies has become extinct. However, like

any other null hypothesis, extinction can be disproven but never proven. Additional

surveys offer the hope that that conclusion may be refuted.

Methods.--Pocket gophers were sought by looking for mounds of soil (burrow

castings). Reconnaissance was done only from major roads through the area originally

described. This search was cursory compared with the exhaustive effort by Humphrey

(1981). However, the new search was done at a different time of year--July instead of

October to March.

Results.--No evidence of pocket gophers was found.

Taxonomy.--G. p. goffi is known from 22 specimens taken between 1897 and

1955. It was described by Sherman (1944) on the basis of a longer body than in other

Florida pocket gophers. This difference he attributed to the occurrence of an extra

body segment, reflected by 13 pairs of ribs instead of the usual 12.

Distribution and Habitat.--All records of G. p. goffi are from the type locality of

Eau Gallie, described as "... part of a strip of Norfolk and St. Lucie fine sands which

border the Indian River. Evidence of Geomys has been found for a distance of about

two miles both north and south of Eau Gallie and for a distance of about two miles

inland from the Indian River." This soil is distributed as a long, narrow landform, the

Pineda Ridge, which extends from north of Bonaventure through the city of Melbourne

and south to Malabar. The town of Eau Gallie has been subsumed as part of the city of

Melbourne, and most of the area within a 2-mile radius of the old town is urban or

suburban habitat. A substantial amount of suitable habitat occurs on roadsides, railroad

right-of-way, a few pastures, fields along airport runways, parks, golf courses, baseball










fields, and cemeteries. In the immediate area of Eau Gallie, the best habitat occurs on

the fenced grounds of Melbourne Regional Airport; the rest is in golf courses,

cemeteries, and other areas where gophers are likely to have been actively exterminated.

Some native habitat also persists in the extremities of the Pineda Ridge, but it has been

so long protected from fire that the vegetation forms an extremely dense understory and

(in the case of sand pine scrub) a closed tree canopy.

Survival Status.--All recent evidence suggests that Goff's pocket gopher is

extinct.

Management.--Not applicable.

Research Needs.--None.










Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus aquaticus anastasae)

Background.--The Anastasia Island mole (Scalopus aquaticus anastasae) was

described by Bangs (1898). It was abundant at the type locality: Point Romo, Anastasia

Island, St. Johns Co. Anastasia Island has been subjected to rapid development.

Methods.--Moles were sought by on-foot searches for soil-surface traces of

subsurface tunnels. The number of tunnels was counted while setting and checking

traplines established for catching other small mammals.

Results.--The number and location of mole tunnels observed on Anastasia Island

are given in Table 4 and Figure 2. Moles were widespread, and the number of tunnels

indicates that animals are common. Interviews with residents of the island indicated that

moles were abundant in lawns.

Taxonomy.--The Anastasia Island mole was named Scalops anastasae by Bangs

(1898) on the basis of fur color and cranial characteristics. It was referred to Scalopus

aquaticus anastasae by Jackson (1915). Based on a review of geographic variation in

morphology, Yates (1978) synonomized S. a. anastasae (and S. a. howelli) with S. a.

australis, with a combined range of most of peninsular Florida and the southeastern

United States. Yates did not evaluate fur color, which fades in old museum specimens.

Distribution and Habitat.--Moles occurred in all habitats sampled, including dune

grassland, palmetto scrub, wax myrtle thicket, xeric oak forest, and mesic oak forest, as

well as habitats not formally sampled, such as lawns. Distribution is essentially

throughout Anastasia Island.

Survival Status.--No threats to the survival of the Anastasia Island mole were

identified, and its status appears to be secure.

Management.--None needed.

Research Needs.--None needed.


~s ___s~l_









SJ-8
SJ-9
0

L-SJ-3 0
-SJ-4
"'SJ-6 6

SJ-5

.\ ST. AUGUSTINE INLET


AI-15,17-

AI-9






-N-



0 2 4 MILES


18


AI-3
Al-1,2


SJ-2


RI-1


AI-4
AI-5


Figure 2. Locations of sampling sites on Anastasia Island and northward in St. Johns
Co., Florida.


AI-8,1
AI-7,1
ML-1


1,16
2










Mole tunnels counted on Anastasia Island and vicinity, 22 May to 12 June


Estimated length
of transect (m)


Number of mole
tunnels counted


400
400
400
400
600
600
200
100
100
260
400
600
200
200
400
200
400
400
750
200
300
600
200


Total 8,410 37


Table 4.
1986.


Site


CI-I
CI-2
CI-3
CI-4
AI-I
AI-2
AI-3
AI-4
AI-5
AI-6
AI-7
AI-8
AI-9
AI-10
AI-11
AI-12
AI-13
AI-14
AI-15
AI-16
AI-17
RI-1
ML-1










Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus anastasae)

Background.--The Anastasia Island cotton mouse (Peromyscus gossypinus

anastasae) was described by Bangs (1898). The type locality is Point Romo, Anastasia

Island, St. Johns Co. Animals were not common, and Bangs took only nine individuals.

Elliot (1901, cited in Porunelle and Barrington 1953) reported ten specimens taken at

"Espanita", the home of a Mr. Middleton, located 2-3 miles (presumably north) from the

type locality. Apparently this mouse has not been collected on Anastasia Island since

then; Pournelle and Barrington (1953) failed to catch any in 306 trapnights in 1948, even

though the purpose of their trip was to obtain topotypes. These authors cited

development by man as the probable cause of the scarcity or absence of cotton mice at

Anastasia Island. Osgood (1909) extended the range north to Cumberland Island,

Georgia. On this basis, the subspecies could be expected to occur on the intervening

barrier islands and beaches. Most of this area is being developed rapidly for residential

and commercial uses.

Methods.--Sampling was conducted on Anastasia Island and vicinity from 22

May to 12 June 1986 (Figure 2). Sites AI-9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 17 were within

Anastasia State Recreation Area. Sites AI-7, 8, 11, 12, and 16 and Site RI-1 were

within Fort Matanzas National Monument. Sites CI-2; AI-I, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14;

RI-l; and ML-I were in dune grassland habitat judged suitable for beach mice. Sites

CI-1, 3, and 4 and AI-3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 17 were in wax myrtle, palmetto,

xeric oak, or mesic oak habitats judged suitable for cotton mice. Cotton mice also

would be expected occasionally in beach mouse habitat. Site AI-2 was in dense grass

judged suitable only for cotton rats. Sampling was conducted on the barrier beach from

Vilano Beach northward from 12-20 June 1986. Sites SJ-3 to 9 were located in Guana

River Wildlife Management Area. Sites SJ-3, 5, 6, and 8 were in habitat suitable for

beach mice, and Sites SJ-4, 7, and 9 were in habitat suitable for cotton mice. Trapping

was done with lines of 40 large Sherman traps baited with rolled oats. To prevent











Table 5. Rodents captured on Anastasia Island, nearby Conch and Rattlesnake Islands,

and vicinity, 22 May to 12 June 1986.


Peromyscus
gossypinus


Peromyscus
polionotus


Sigmodon Mus Rattus
hispidus musculus rattus


64 54 13


Adjusted
trap
nights


Site


CI-1
CI-2
CI-3
CI-4
AI-1
AI-2
AI-3
AI-4
AI-5
AI-6
AI-7
AI-8
AI-9
AI-10
AI-11
AI-12
AI-13
AI-14
AI-15
AI-16
AI-17
AI-18
RI-I
ML-1
SJ-1
SJ-2


79
76.5
79
80
120
120
90
20
100
121.5
118
108
79
73
69.5
79
80
69.5
150
34.5
38.5
38
118
39
60
38.5


Trap
success


0.076
0.131
0.0
0.0
0.042
0.108
0.011
0.0
0.050
0.025
0.144
0.102
0.0
0.0
0.187
0.127
0.275
0.144
0.040
0.290
0.026
0.0
0.017
0.051
0.017
0.0


__~___il_~____l______


Total 2,078.5 0


17 0.071










mortality and saturation of traps by cotton rats, which are active at all times of day,

traps were set in the late afternoon and checked and closed in the morning. Traplines

were run for 1 to 3 nights.

Results.--We captured no cotton mice on Anastasia Island in over 2,000

trapnights of sampling (Table 5). Additionally, Joshua Laerm (personal communication)

failed to find this animal in approximately 5,000 trapnights on Anastasia Island in the

early 1980s. Our specimens of P. gossypinus from the barrier beach north of Vilano

Beach (Table 6) were dark in color and not referable to the subspecies anastasae.

Taxonomy.--The Anastasia Island cotton mouse was named as Peromyscus

anastasae by Bangs (1898) and assigned to Peromyscus gossypinus anastasae by Osgood

(1909). Osgood also included in P. g. anastasae populations from Cumberland Island,

Camden Co., Georgia, which had been named as P. insulanus by Bangs (1898). This

implied a much larger range, including a great length of coast not separate from the

mainland, and including areas separated from one another by the St. Johns and St. Marys

Rivers and other water barriers. This situation is contrary to common sense. As

suggested above for cottontails and cotton rats, such an arrangement may represent the

lumping of relatively unrelated populations that are convergent in color, in adaptation to

the light color of coastal soils.

Osgood referred only 18 specimens from Anastasia Island and 36 from

Cumberland Island to anastasae. However, he examined P. gossypinus from other

nearby areas, including St. Marys, Georgia; Amelia Island; Burnside Beach [on the coast

of Duval Co. north of Anastasia Island]; Carterville [on the mainland west of Anastasia

Island]; and Summer Haven [formerly El Penon island, now the point south of Matanzas

Inlet--see next paragraph]. Osgood's remarks about anastasae offer perspective on the

validity of the taxon: "Although the pale forms from Anastasia and Cumberland islands,

respectively, are entirely isolated from each other and from the mainland forms, they

seem to be absolutely alike and also are not different from certain aberrant










Table 6. Rodents captured in St. Johns County from Vilano Beach north, 12-20 June

1986.

Adjusted
trap Peromyscus Ochrotomys Sigmodon Mus Rattus Trap
Site nights gossypinus nuttalli hispidus musculus rattus success


SJ-3 40 0 0 0 1 0 0.025
SJ-4 34.5 0 0 6 0 0 0.174
SJ-5 119 0 0 5 1 0 0.050
SJ-6 116.5 0 0 9 1 0 0.086
SJ-7 115 0 0 5 0 3 0.070
SJ-8 78 1 0 9 1 0 0.141
SJ-9 72 7 1 2 0 3 0.181

Total 575 8 1 31 4 6 0.087


(intermediate?) specimens from the mainland. Moreover, the mainland specimens most

similar to them are not from localities immediately adjacent to the islands in question,

specimens from St. Marys, Ga., Burnside Beach, Fla., etc., being typical gossypinus."

Further doubt about this arrangement is cast by Osgood's remarks under P. g. palmarius:

"The type of palmarius and a very small percentage of the large series of topotypes are

unusually pale and scarcely distinguishable from comparable specimens of anastasae...

the great preponderance of dark specimens from the type locality [Oak Lodge] tends to

indicate that the type is probably an aberrant specimen rather than the representative of

a well-defined form. The case might be construed also to the effect that pale coast

forms are undergoing parallel differentiation at several points and that the same

character (paleness) has been established independently on Anastasia and Cumberland

islands and is only in its incipiency on the peninsula opposite Micco."

It is clear from Bangs' text that he was indeed on Anastasia Island, but confusion

arises because the type locality is listed as "Point Romo, Anastasia Island." Point Romo

is no longer in use as a place name, but an old map in the files of St. Augustine

National Monument shows Point Romo to be on the south edge of Matanzas Inlet, rather










than the north. This appears to conflict with Bangs' usage (in his account of Peromyscus

niveiventris) of the name "Point Matanzas" for the south edge of Matanzas Inlet.

Matanzas Inlet and the adjoining land was reconfigured by the U.S. Army Corps of

Engineers in the 1930s, when the Intracoastal Waterway was built. Before then, the inlet

had two channels, which went around an island with the Spanish name "El Penon."

According to the historian at St. Augustine National Monument, El Penon was a rocky

point used as a navigation marker. This island was joined to Point Romo by the Corps

of Engineers. As a result, the island is now the point south of Matanzas Inlet. Now this

is the site of the current settlement of Summer Haven. The former Point Romo is part

of the barrier beach between Summer Haven and Marineland. We infer that either (1)

the original Spanish maps were mislabeled, (2) Bangs was mistaken about which point

was Point Romo, or (3) Bangs referred to Point Romo as the nearest human settlement

that geographers of the day could be expected to find on a map. Whatever the case, we

have no doubt that the type locality of P. g. anastasae, P. p. phasma, and S. a. anastasae

was the southern end of Anastasia Island immediately north of Matanzas Inlet, on land

now part of Fort Matanzas National Monument.

Distribution and Habitat.--The original distribution of P. g. anastasae was

Anastasia Island; as revised by Osgood, its distribution expanded enormously northward

as far as Cumberland Island, Camden Co., Georgia. Cotton mice occurred mostly in

thickets of wax myrtle and Spanish bayonet and occasionally in the dune grassland of

Anastasia Island; based on habitat used by cotton mice elsewhere, the maritime live oak

forest probably also was occupied. Suitable habitat remains on Anastasia Island, but in

small, fragmented patches. Perhaps more important is the fact that these patches of

suitable habitat now are occupied by black rats (Rattus rattus; Table 5). Though we

have no direct evidence of competition between these two species, a causal relation

between colonization of Rattus and extinction of Peromyscus is possible. For a parallel

situation, refer to the case of the pallid beach mouse (Humphrey and Barbour 1981).











Considering the range of cotton mice north of Anastasia Island, the available habitat is

very extensive and includes coastal scrub, xeric oak forest, mesic forest, flatwoods, and

hydric hammock.

Survival Status.--If one accepts the current taxonomic arrangement established by

Osgood (1909), our results suggest that P. g. anastasae is apparently extirpated from

Anastasia Island but remains widespread and common elsewhere in its range. If one

rejects the current taxonomic arrangement, as we suggest above, our results suggest that

the Anastasia Island cotton mouse may be extinct.

Management.--If the subspecies is extinct, management questions are moot. If

the subspecies is widely distributed and common, management is not an important issue.

Research Needs.--A comprehensive review of geographic variation in Peromyscus

gossypinus is needed. Without good taxonomy, wildlife managers cannot determine what

genetic entities are at risk when habitat is converted to non-wildlife uses. Research also

is needed on whether a strong competitive interaction occurs between black rats and

cotton mice in Florida environments.










Anastasia Island beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus phasma)

Background.--The Anastasia Island beach mouse (Peromyscus polionotus phasma)

was named by Bangs (1898), who said it "fairly swarmed on the sand hills at the, lower

end of the island." Published literature records it from only two sites: the type locality

at Point Romo, Anastasia Island, St. Johns Co., and on the coastal dunes of the

peninsular barrier beach extending from St. Augustine Inlet north to the border between

Duval and St. Johns counties (Ivey 1949). Ivey noted that the population did not extend

farther north on the coast into Duval County. Therefore this subspecies can be expected

to occur along the entire coast of St. Johns County (except south of Matanzas Inlet).

Much of the dune habitat along this coast has been developed around Ponte Vedre Beach

and St. Augustine. However, some undeveloped habitat remains on Anastasia Island and

between Ponte Vedra Beach and South Ponte Vedra Beach in St. Johns County.

Methods.--Sampling was conducted on Anastasia Island and vicinity from 22 May

to 12 June 1986 (Figure 2). Sites AI-9, 10, 13, 14, 15, and 17 were within Anastasia

State Recreation Area. Sites AI-7, 8, 11, 12, and 16 and Site RI-1 were within Fort

Matanzas National Monument. Sites CI-1 to 4 are on Conch Island, originally the

northernmost of several sand bars in St. Augustine Inlet, but now connected to Anastasia

Island by dredge spoil and alongshore deposition. Conch Island is part of Anastasia State

Recreation Area. Sites AI-1 to 3 are in the Fleeman tract, 700 meters of undeveloped

land north of Versaggi Road in St. Augustine Beach, which is proposed for acquisition

under the Save Our Coasts program. Sites CI-2; AI-I, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14; RI-1;

and ML-1 were in dune grassland habitat judged suitable for beach mice. Sites CI-1, 3,

and 4 and AI-3, 8, 9, 10, 11, 15, 16, and 17 were in wax myrtle, palmetto, xeric oak, or

mesic oak habitats judged suitable for cotton mice. Cotton mice also would be expected

occasionally in beach mouse habitat. Site AI-2 was in dense grass judged suitable only

for cotton rats. Sampling was conducted on the barrier beach from Vilano Beach

northward from 12-20 June 1986. Sites SJ-3 to 9 were located in Guana River Wildlife










Management Area. Sites SJ-3, 5, 6, and 8 were in habitat suitable for beach mice, and

Sites SJ-4, 7, and 9 were in habitat suitable for cotton mice. Trapping was done with

lines of 40 large Sherman traps baited with rolled oats. To prevent mortality and

saturation of traps by cotton rats, which are active at all times of day, traps were set in

the late afternoon and checked and closed in the morning. Traplines were run for 1 to 3

nights.

Results.--Anastasia Island beach mice were captured in Fort Matanzas National

Monument, two sites (AI-5 and 6) north of FMNM, the Fleeman tract, and Anastasia

State Recreation Area (Table 6, Figure 2). Beach mice were not taken at a few sites

from which captures were anticipated (AI-4, RI-1, and ML-1) on the basis of habitat

characteristics. No beach mice were captured on the barrier beach north of St.

Augustine Inlet.

Taxonomy.--This beach mouse was named as Peromyscus phasma by Bangs

(1898) based on 29 specimens from the southern tip of Anastasia Island. The population

was treated as a subspecies of P. polionotus by Osgood (1909), who examined 54

specimens, all from the type locality. This taxonomic arrangement has not been

reviewed since then; Bowen (1968) dealt only with Gulf coastal subspecies of P.

polionotus.

Hall (1981) cited unreferenced marginal records of phasma from the border of St.

Johns and Duval Counties. Presumably this report is based on the published distribution

records (Ivey 1949) mentioned above. However, Ivey assigned these animals to the

subspecies phasma without making taxonomic comparisons and despite the absence of a

land connection with Anastasia Island in modern times. The resulting uncertainty may

never be solved, because the northern population now appears to be extinct and no

museum specimens from it are reported in published literature. Ivey's address in 1949

(University of New Mexico, Albuquerque) suggests one place to look for specimens.










Distribution and Habitat.--Beach mice are restricted to sand dunes vegetated

mainly by sea oats (Uniola paniculata) and dune panic grass (Paspalum amarulum), and

to the adjoining scrub, characterized by oaks (Quercus sp.) and sand pine (Pinuscclausa)

or palmetto (Serenoa repens). Though this restriction ordinarily limits the range of

beach mice to the 25-500-foot wide strip of coastal dunes as stated by Ivey (1959),

Pournelle and Barrington reported P. p. phasma in scrub up to 1800 feet from the dunes.

We found no such areas on Anastasia Island that had not been developed. P. p. phasma

had not been reported beyond the two areas listed above until the present study.

Though the distribution in the northern half of St. Johns County appears to be

no longer occupied, we found populations distributed along the length of Anastasia

Island. However, much of the former habitat has been converted to lawn or concrete

associated with development of houses and condominiums. As a result, the remaining

habitat is fragmented and discontinuous, and the remaining populations are small. The

numbers of animals we caught suggest that viable populations remain at both ends of

Anastasia Island, all along the dune grassland of both Anastasia State Recreation Area

and Fort Matanzas National Monument. The small population remaining on the Fleeman

tract south of St. Augustine Beach may not be viable.

A complicating factor is that house mice (Mus musculus) have colonized the dune

grassland on which beach mice depend. The inference that these two species compete

strongly is speculative, but Humphrey and Barbour (1981) presented prima facie

evidence for competitive exclusion of other subspecies of beach mice by house mice.

The situation on Anastasia Island is unprecedented, because for the first time the two

species have been found to co-occur locally--within traplines on Conch Island and

elsewhere in Anastasia State Recreation Area. A related issue is that activity of house

cats (Felis cattus) was widespread on Anastasia Island. The effect of these two exotic

species on survival of beach mouse populations is speculative but may be quite important

(Humphrey and Barbour 1981). Either a competitor or a predator alone can eliminate










another species, and the effects of a competitor and a predator together would be

additive. The two processes operate differently--predation stimulates reproduction of

most prey species, whereas competition surpresses reproduction of most species..

Ivey (1949) clarified Bangs (1898) report that beach mice were absent from the

beaches north of St. Augustine. Bangs referred to failure to catch animals at Burnside

Beach, a place name no longer in use. It is clear from Ivey's discussion that this locality

was near the northern end (perhaps near Mayport or Jacksonville Beach) of the peninsula

he studied, and that beach mice occurred on the southern half.

Survival Status.--On the assumption that native beach mice and exotic house

mice compete strongly enough to cause competitive exclusion of the former, we infer

that the survival status of P. p. phasma on Anastasia Island is precarious. The

populations on the northern end of the island may soon disappear. The population

appearing to be least at risk is at Fort Matanzas National Monument, where we recorded

no Mus. Even there the likelihood of colonization by Mus is high, and this population

should be considered threatened also.

Management.--Although some uncertainty exists about the threat of exotic

rodents to native beach mice, enough is known to justify management action now. The

alternative of awaiting basic research to corroborate the scanty available data risks that

the beach mouse populations could be lost in the meantime.

Because the only populations of beach mice with any chance of survival are those

on public land, management should focus on habitat acquisition and management. In the

range of P. p. phasma, the best undeveloped habitat is already under public ownership.

The Fleeman tract, 45 ha in area with 700 m of ocean-front, has been proposed for

public acquisition and is 21st in priority on the Save-Our-Coast list (St. Augustine

Record, 23 December 1986). Attention should be given to the question of whether the

beach mouse population there is viable. The other two populations of beach mice on










private land live in smaller areas (AI-5 and 6) surrounded by houses and condominiums;

probably these populations are doomed to extirpation.

Consideration should be given to introducing P. p. phasma from Anastasia Island

to the suitable habitat at Guana River Wildlife Management Area, because the risk to

the existing populations is substantial, and addition of a new population would

substantially increase the probability of survival of the taxon.

The remainder of management action should focus on minimizing changes in the

habitat of dune grassland that favor the survival of house mice. In lieu of research on

what this means, common sense should be the guide to specific management actions. All

facilities supporting visitors to public lands should be located or moved to habitats

inland of the dune grassland. This includes all buildings for staff and operation,

facilities for park concessions, campgrounds, restrooms, refuse dumpsters, and trash

barrels. Any practice that would eliminate structures in which mice could live and

scraps of garbage that mice could eat would have the desired effect. Routine, intensive

rodent control at park and concession buildings could be helpful. More frequent and

thorough refuse removal practices could be helpful. Control of free-ranging house cats

could be helpful.

Research Needs.--A survey should be done at Ponte Vedra Beach to see if the

historic population persists there. Basic research is needed to determine whether

competition really occurs between beach mice and house mice, and if so, on how strong

it is. Comparable research is needed to determine whether predation by house cats

affects beach mice. Applied research is needed on how park management practices

affect house mice. Information is needed on how far house mice will disperse from

various types of facilities, whether colonization of dune grassland is seasonal or

permanent, whether vigorous rodent control measures at park buildings affects the

ability of house mice to colonize dune grassland, and on how park managers can better

control refuse from campers, picnickers, and fishermen.










Conclusions

The conclusions of this study are summarized as follows:

Taxonomic Survival
Subspecies status Distribution Habitat status


Beach cottontail Uncertain* Canaveral Pen. to Coastal dune Secure
rabbit Sebastian Inlet* and scrub

Seashore cotton Uncertain* Canaveral Pen. to Coastal dune Secure
rat Sebastian Inlet, and scrub
Merritt Island*

Southeastern Valid Canaveral Pen. Dune grassland Secure in north,
beach mouse and Merritt Isl. south threatened in
to Hutchinson Isl. south

Goff's pocket Moot Melbourne Open uplands Extinct
gopher

Anastasia Island Not valid Southeastern U.S. Various Secure
mole

Anastasia Island Valid* Anastasia Island* Palmetto scrub, Extinct**
cotton mouse hammock

Anastasia Island Valid Anastasia Island Dune grassland Threatened
beach mouse


Review of geographic variation is needed to confirm these interpretations of taxonomic status
and distribution.

** Concluding that this subspecies is insular and extinct requires rejecting the current taxonomic
arrangement; otherwise the subspecies is widespread and common.


~~ _i__~llil___i~_











1. Because of uncertain taxonomic status, the distribution of the beach cottontail

rabbit can be interpreted either as extensive or less so. A common-sense interpretation

shows this upland rabbit is widely distributed on the Canaveral Peninsula, where

excellent, extensive habitat remains and populations are sizeable. However, whether the

subspecies occupies this entire area is debatable. A narrower interpretation, confining

the subspecies to East Peninsula, invokes loss of most cottontail habitat from Melbourne

Beach north, but much good cottontail habitat remains south of Melbourne Beach.

Pending a review of geographic variation in Florida cottontails to allow better definition

of the distribution of the beach subspecies, its survival appears to be secured by the

substantial amount of habitat protected from development by public ownership. No

management issues are apparent.

2. Uncertain taxonomic status of the seashore cotton rat makes its distribution

debatable. At a minimum, this subspecies is common and widely distributed on East

Peninsula. More probably, its range also includes Canaveral Peninsula and Merritt

Island. At a maximum, its range also includes other barrier islands. Even if future

study of geographic variation shows that the subspecies occurs only on East Peninsula,

the population probably can survive indefinitely, because substantial amounts of habitat

and public land are available there.

3. The range of the southeastern beach mouse has been substantially reduced and

fragmented by habitat conversion and invasion of exotic mammals over the past century.

These threats are anticipated to continue, and the range of this subspecies ultimately

may be limited to public land that is properly managed. Substantial populations remain

on Canaveral Peninsula, Merritt Island, the southern half of Sebastian Inlet State

Recreation Area, and Pepper Park. Management of the dune grassland on public lands

in these areas should strive to prevent colonization or activity of house mice and house

cats, through construction setbacks, refuse control, and predator removal. Introduction










of beach mice to the northern portion of Sebastian Inlet State Recreation Area should be

considered.

4. Goff's pocket gopher appears to be extinct. No action is required.

5. The Anastasia Island mole is widespread and common on Anastasia Island.

The taxon recently was found to be indistinguishable from moles from most of

peninsular Florida and the southeastern United States. No action is required.

6. If one accepts the current taxonomic arrangement, the Anastasia Island cotton

mouse is apparently extirpated from Anastasia Island but remains widespread and

common elsewhere in its range. However, we favor the original taxonomic arrangement,

with a distribution limited to Anastasia Island. Under this interpretation, the Anastasia

Island cotton mouse appears to be extinct. In the first case, management is not an

important issue; in the second, management issues are moot. Although strictly academic,

a comprehensive review of geographic variation in Peromyscus gossypinus is needed.

7. The survival status of the Anastasia Island beach mouse is precarious. It

already is extirpated from the northern half of its range, from Villano Beach north to

Ponte Vedra Beach. Its remaining range on Anastasia Island appears to be reduced and

fragmented. The subspecies persists in large, viable populations on public land at each

end of Anastasia Island (Anastasia State Recreation Area and Fort Matanzas National

Monument) and in small, marginal populations on at least three parcels of privately

owned land. The latter three populations are threatened by habitat conversion. The

population on the northern end of the island may soon disappear, because the dune

grassland has been colonized by house mice, which are thought to cause competitive

exclusion of beach mice. The population appearing to be least at risk is at Fort

Matanzas National Monument. Consideration should be given to introducing beach mice

from Anastasia Island to the suitable habitat at Guana River Wildlife Management Area.

Applied research is needed on how park management practices affect house mice.

Management of the dune grassland on public lands should strive to prevent colonization







37


or activity of house mice and house cats, through construction setbacks, refuse control,

and predator removal. Remedial management action is needed in Anastasia State

Recreation Area, and preventative action is appropriate for Fort Matanzas National

Monument.











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