We examined effects of the exotic fire ant Solenopsis invicta on habitat use by hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus) and northern pygmy mice (Baiomys taylori) over a 17-month period in an open grassland community in central Texas. We divided the study area into 10 adjacent plots. Five alternating plots were treated with an ant-toxic bait to reduce density of S. invicta. The remaining 5 plots were left untreated. We trapped small mammals monthly and calculated capture per unit effort (CPUE) for each small mammal species in each of 3 treatments (treated, untreated, border) each month. Trap months were partitioned into 2 seasons, summer and winter. Sigmodon hispidus altered habitat use, as indicated by CPUE, in the presence of S. invicta during summer, and B. taylori did not alter habitat use in the presence of fire ants during either season.
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Vol. 48 • No. 3