Canyonlands Research Bibliography


Shrews of the La Sal Mountains, Southearstern Utah

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Western North American Naturalist



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We conducted a trapping survey of small mammals along an elevational gradient in the La Sal Mountains and documented 4 species of shrews (Sorex), the largest number inhabiting any mountain range in Utah. Sorex palustris was restricted to very moist microhabitats near open water at mid- to high elevations where it was relatively common. Occurring in nearly all habitats across the entire sampling gradient, S. monticolus was the numerically dominant small mammal at many sites. Sorex nanus, a new record for the La Sals, was found in areas of rockfall at high elevations and in a rocky wash at mid-elevation. Sorex cinereus, a new record for southeastern Utah, was recorded at a single high-elevation locality. Most localities had 2 syntopic species of shrews, and at 1 site in and around a rockslide we recorded all 4 species. Despite their current isolation, the La Sal Mountains support a remarkably diverse shrew fauna. Their proximity to the main southern Rocky Mountains as a rich faunal source and the presence of abundant rockfall microhabitat appear to be important causal factors.

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