Neotoma lepida - Thomas, 1893
Desert Woodrat
Other English Common Names: desert woodrat
Taxonomic Status: Accepted
Related ITIS Name(s): Neotoma lepida Thomas, 1893 (TSN 180374)
Spanish Common Names: Un Ratón
Unique Identifier: ELEMENT_GLOBAL.2.104732
Element Code: AMAFF08040
Informal Taxonomy: Animals, Vertebrates - Mammals - Rodents
 
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Craniata Mammalia Rodentia Cricetidae Neotoma
Genus Size: C - Small genus (6-20 species)
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Concept Reference
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Concept Reference: Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.
Concept Reference Code: B93WIL01NAUS
Name Used in Concept Reference: Neotoma lepida
Taxonomic Comments: Subspecies aureotunicata, auripila, bensoni, devia, flava, harteri, monstrabilis, and sanrafaeli of the species Neotoma lepida were regarded together as a distinct species, N. devia, by Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 1993; see also Mascarello 1978 and Jones et al. 1992). However, the taxa that should be included in this species require further study and affirmation (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 1993, 2005). Musser and Carleton (in Wilson and Reeder 2005) included aureotunicata, auripila, bensoni, flava, and harteri in N. devia; all other subspecies/synonyms in the devia-lepida group were allocated to N. lepida.

The North American mammal checklist by Baker et al. (2003) listed N. devia as distinct from N. lepida but stated that it is unclear if N. devia represents a valid species. Even with the removal of devia, N. lepida may represent a composite of two species (see Mascarello 1978; Baker et al. 2003; Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).
Conservation Status
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NatureServe Status

Global Status: G5
Global Status Last Reviewed: 28Feb2005
Global Status Last Changed: 12Nov1996
Rounded Global Status: G5 - Secure
Nation: United States
National Status: N5 (05Sep1996)

U.S. & Canada State/Province Status
Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
United States Arizona (S5), California (SNR), Colorado (S2), Idaho (S4), Navajo Nation (S3), Nevada (S5), Oregon (S4), Utah (S4)

Other Statuses

IUCN Red List Category: LC - Least concern

NatureServe Global Conservation Status Factors

Range Extent Comments: Southeastern Oregon to west-central Colorado, south through Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and southern California to southern Baja California (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

Other NatureServe Conservation Status Information

Distribution
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Global Range: Southeastern Oregon to west-central Colorado, south through Nevada, northwestern Arizona, and southern California to southern Baja California (Musser and Carleton, in Wilson and Reeder 2005).

U.S. States and Canadian Provinces

Due to latency between updates made in state, provincial or other NatureServe Network databases and when they appear on NatureServe Explorer, for state or provincial information you may wish to contact the data steward in your jurisdiction to obtain the most current data. Please refer to our Distribution Data Sources to find contact information for your jurisdiction.
Color legend for Distribution Map
Endemism: occurs (regularly, as a native taxon) in multiple nations

U.S. & Canada State/Province Distribution
United States AZ, CA, CO, ID, NN, NV, OR, UT

Range Map
Note: Range depicted for New World only. The scale of the maps may cause narrow coastal ranges or ranges on small islands not to appear. Not all vagrant or small disjunct occurrences are depicted. For migratory birds, some individuals occur outside of the passage migrant range depicted. For information on how to obtain shapefiles of species ranges see our Species Mapping pages at www.natureserve.org/conservation-tools/data-maps-tools.

Range Map Compilers: Sechrest, 2002


U.S. Distribution by County Help
State County Name (FIPS Code)
CA Los Angeles (06037), Orange (06059), Riverside (06065), San Bernardino (06071), San Diego (06073), San Luis Obispo (06079), Santa Barbara (06083), Ventura (06111)
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
U.S. Distribution by Watershed Help
Watershed Region Help Watershed Name (Watershed Code)
18 Central Coastal (18060006)+, Santa Ynez (18060010)+, Santa Barbara Coastal (18060013)+, Ventura (18070101)+, Santa Clara (18070102)+, Calleguas (18070103)+, Santa Monica Bay (18070104)+, Los Angeles (18070105)+, San Jacinto (18070202)+, Santa Ana (18070203)+, Newport Bay (18070204)+, Aliso-San Onofre (18070301)+, Santa Margarita (18070302)+, San Luis Rey-Escondido (18070303)+, San Diego (18070304)+, Cottonwood-Tijuana (18070305)+, Whitewater River (18100201)+, Carrizo Creek (18100202)+, Salton Sea (18100204)+
+ Natural heritage record(s) exist for this watershed
* Extirpated/possibly extirpated
Ecology & Life History
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General Description: A 23-38-cm-long rat; dorsum is grayish, with a mixture of black hairs; venter is white or buffy; tail has short hairs covering the scales and is bicolored, and the length is about 75% of head-body length; hind foot length is 28-41 mm; basilar length of skull 30-36 mm; last upper molar has a shallow re-entrant angle on the tongue side and a straight or slightly bent posterior re-entrant angle on the cheek side (Ingles 1965).
Reproduction Comments: Gestation lasts 30-36 days. Females produce 4 or more litters/year. Litter size usually is 2-3, but may number 1-5 young. Young are weaned in 21-34 days (depending on litter size), reach sexual maturity 2-3 months (Burt and Grossenheider 1964, Hoffmeister 1986).
Non-Migrant: Y
Locally Migrant: N
Long Distance Migrant: N
Palustrine Habitat(s): Riparian
Terrestrial Habitat(s): Bare rock/talus/scree, Cliff, Desert, Shrubland/chaparral, Woodland - Conifer
Special Habitat Factors: Fallen log/debris
Habitat Comments: Sagebrush scrub; chaparral; deserts and rocky slopes with scattered cactus, yucca, pine-juniper, and other low vegetation; creosote bush desert; Joshua tree woodland; scub oak woodland; pinyon-juniper woodland; riparian zones; also recorded from salt marsh (see Verts and Carraway 2002). When inactive, occupies elaborate den built of debris on ground, among cacti or yucca, along cliff, among rocks, occasionally in tree. Young are born and reared in a nest within the den.
Adult Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Immature Food Habits: Frugivore, Granivore, Herbivore
Food Comments: Feeds on beans and leaves of mesquite, juniper, parts of available cacti, creosote bush, thistle, Ephedra; also other green vegetation, seeds, fruits, acorns, and pine nuts. Derives water from diet. Can eat plants high in oxalic acid.
Adult Phenology: Nocturnal
Immature Phenology: Nocturnal
Phenology Comments: Primarily nocturnal.
Length: 38 centimeters
Weight: 170 grams
Economic Attributes Not yet assessed
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Management Summary Not yet assessed
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Population/Occurrence Delineation
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Group Name: Small Murid Rodents

Use Class: Not applicable
Minimum Criteria for an Occurrence: Evidence of historical presence, or current and likely recurring presence, at a given location. Such evidence minimally includes collection or reliable observation and documentation of one or more individuals in appropriate habitat where the species is presumed to be established and breeding.
Mapping Guidance: Separate sites separated by less than 1000 meters should be mapped as separate polygons.
Separation Barriers: Barriers include: wide highways with heavy traffic (subjective determination) and highways with continuous solid barriers that prevent rodent passage; major water bodies, arbitrarily set at those greater than 50 meters across in ice-free areas and those greater than 200 meters wide if frozen regularly.
Separation Distance for Unsuitable Habitat: 2 km
Separation Distance for Suitable Habitat: 5 km
Separation Justification: Home ranges may be quite small, but at least some species exhibit good dispersal ability that may take them several kilometers from their natal area (Maier 2002). Peromyscus that have been displaced up to 3 km may return home within a few days (see Maier 2002). Displaced Neotoma fuscipes dispersed up to at least 1.6 km from their release point in five nights (Smith 1965). A male Dicrostonyx richardsoni moved more than 3 kilometers per day several times (Engstrom, in Wilson and Ruff 1999). Some species can traverse significant distances of unsuitable habitat. For example, Peromyscus leucopus may move between wooded areas separated by a deforested agricultural gap of up to at least 2 km (Krohne and Hoch 1999). In New Brunswick, a tagged subadult male Peromyscus maniculatus was captured at locations 1.77 km apart after a period of 2 weeks in September, suggesting that dispersal may extend at least this far (Bowman et al. 1999). In Kansas, individual Peromyscus maniculatus were captured at trap sites up to 1.32 km apart (Rehmeier et al. 2004). Dispersal can play a key role in the population dynamics of murid rodents.

Patterns of genetic (DNA) variation indicate that gene flow can be low among subpopulations of Neotoma magister and that effective dispersal is limited among subpopulations separated by as little as 3 km (Castleberry et al. 2002).

Separation distance for suitable habitat is a compromise between the typical small home range sizes of these mammals and their sometimes considerable dispersal ability and the likely low probability that two occupied locations separated by less than several kilometers of suitable habitat would represent independent populations.

Roads, especially divided highways, are major barriers to dispersal in small mammals (Oxley et al. 1974, Wilkins 1982, Garland and Bradley 1984).

Date: 08Mar2005
Author: Hammerson, G., and S. Cannings
Notes: Group contains most members of the family Muridae: mice, voles, lemmings, woodrats, etc.
Population/Occurrence Viability
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U.S. Invasive Species Impact Rank (I-Rank) Not yet assessed
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Authors/Contributors
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NatureServe Conservation Status Factors Edition Date: 28Feb2005
Element Ecology & Life History Edition Date: 28Feb2005
Element Ecology & Life History Author(s): Hammerson, G.

Zoological data developed by NatureServe and its network of natural heritage programs (see Local Programs) and other contributors and cooperators (see Sources).

References
Help
  • Armstrong, D.M. 1972. Distribution of Mammals in Colorado. Monograph of the Museum of Natural History, University of Kansas. University of Kansas Printing Service, Lawrence. 415 pp.

  • Baker, R. J., L. C. Bradley, R. D. Bradley, J. W. Dragoo, M. D. Engstrom, R. S. Hoffman, C. A. Jones, F. Reid, D. W. Rice, and C. Jones. 2003a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 2003. Museum of Texas Tech University Occasional Papers 229:1-23.

  • Banks, E. M., R. J. Brooks, and J. Schnell. 1975. A radiotracking study of home range and activity of the brown lemming (Lemmus trimucronatus). Journal of Mammalogy 56:888-901.

  • Bowman, J. C., M. Edwards, L. S. Sheppard, and G. J. Forbes. 1999. Record distance for a non-homing movement by a deer mouse, Peromyscus maniculatus. Canadian Field-Naturalist 113:292-293.

  • Brooks, R. J., and E. M. Banks. 1971. Radio-tracking study of lemming home range. Communications in Behavioral Biology 6:1-5.

  • Burt, W. H. and R. P. Grossenheider. 1964. A field guide to the mammals. Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston.

  • Castleberry, S., B., T. L. King, P. B. Wood, and W. M. Ford. 2002. Microsatellite DNA analysis of population structure in Allegheny woodrats (Neotoma magister). Journal of Mammalogy 83:1058-1070.

  • Coombs, E. M. [no date-1977?]. Wildlife observations of the hot desert region, Washington County, Utah, with emphasis on reptilian species and their habitat in relation to livestock grazing. A report to the Cedar City District, BLM by the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources.

  • Douglass, R. J. 1977. Population dynamics, home ranges, and habitat associations of the yellow-cheeked vole, Microtus xanthognathus, in the Northwest Territories. Canadian Field-Naturalist 91:237-47.

  • Fitzgerald, J. P., C. A. Meaney, and D. M. Armstrong. 1994. Mammals of Colorado. Denver Museum of Natural History and University Press of Colorado.

  • Garland, T., Jr. and W. G. Bradley. 1984. Effects of a highway on Mojave Desert rodent populations. American Midland Naturalist 111:47-56.

  • Hall, E. R. 1946. Mammals of Nevada. The University of California Press, Berkeley, California.

  • Hall, E. R. 1981a. The Mammals of North America, second edition. Vols. I & II. John Wiley & Sons, New York, New York. 1181 pp.

  • Hoffmeister, D. F. 1986. Mammals of Arizona. University of Arizona Press and Arizona Game and Fish Department. 602 pp.

  • Ingles, L. G. 1965. Mammals of the Pacific States. Stanford University Press, Stanford, California.

  • Jike, L., G. O. Batzli, L. L. Geta. 1988. Home ranges of prairie voles as determined by radiotracking and by powdertracking. Journal of Mammalogy 69:183-186.

  • Jones, J. K., Jr., R. S. Hoffman, D. W. Rice, C. Jones, R. J. Baker, and M. D. Engstrom. 1992a. Revised checklist of North American mammals north of Mexico, 1991. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, 146:1-23.

  • Krohne, D. T., and G. A. Hoch. 1999. Demography of Peromyscus leucopus populations on habitat patches: the role of dispersal. Canadian Journal of Zoology 77:1247-1253.

  • Larrison, E.J. and D.R. Johnson. 1981. Mammals of Idaho. The University of Idaho Press, Moscow.

  • MacMillen, R. E. 1964. Population ecology, water relations and social behavior of a southern California semidesert rodent fauna. University of California Publications in Zoology 71:1-59.

  • Maier, T. J. 2002. Long-distance movements by female white-footed mice, Peromyscus leucopus, in extensive mixed-wood forest. Canadian Field-Naturalist 116:108-111.

  • Mascarello, J.T. 1978. Chromosomal, biochemical, mensural, penile, and cranial variation in desert woodrats (NEOTOMA LEPIDA). J. of Mamm. 59(3):477-495.

  • Oxley, D. J., M. B. Fenton and G. R. Carmody. 1974. The effects of roads on populations of small mammals. Journal of Applied Ecology 11: 51-59.

  • Rehmeier, R. L., G. A. Kaufman, and D. W. Kaufman. 2004. Long-distance movements of the deer mouse in tallgrass prairie. Journal of Mammalogy 85:562-568.

  • Smith, M. H. 1965. Dispersal capacity of the dusky-footed wood rat, Neotoma fuscipes. American Midland Naturalist 74:457-463.

  • Storer, T. I., F. C. Evans, and F. G. Palmer. 1944. Some rodent populations in the Sierra Nevada of California. Ecological Monographs 14:166-192.

  • Verts , B. J., and L. N. Carraway. 2002. Neotoma lepida. Mammalian Species 699:1-12.

  • Verts, B. J., and L. N. Carraway. 1998. Land mammals of Oregon. University of California Press, Berkeley. xvi + 668 pp.

  • Wilkins, K. T. 1982. Highways as barriers to rodent dispersal. Southwestern Naturalist 27: 459-460.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 1993. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Second edition. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC. xviii + 1206 pp. Available online at: http://www.nmnh.si.edu/msw/.

  • Wilson, D. E., and D. M. Reeder (editors). 2005. Mammal species of the world: a taxonomic and geographic reference. Third edition. The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore. Two volumes. 2,142 pp. Available online at: https://www.departments.bucknell.edu/biology/resources/msw3/

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