Previous research suggests that the yellow-faced pocket gopher (Cratogeomys castanops) occupies a restricted range in western Kansas that is surrounded by the range of the plains pocket gopher (Geomys bursarius), which is regarded as a superior competitor. To determine whether the plains pocket gopher has encroached on the range of the yellow-faced pocket gopher in the past 35 years and to better understand the geographic relationships of these species, we trapped pocket gophers in western Kansas and collected soil texture and land cover data. We used ArcView 3.2 to map the distributions of these species in the study area, as well as the kinds of soil and land cover found in their potential home ranges. Although the distributions of the 2 species overlap, they are strictly parapatric. The apparent cause of this parapatric relationship is differential tolerance of soil textures. The distribution of the yellow-faced pocket gopher in Kansas is limited to just 7 counties divided into 2 populations, both surrounded by the distribution of the plains pocket gopher. We found no evidence that the range of the plains pocket gopher has expanded at the expense of the yellow-faced pocket gopher in the past 35 years. Thus, although the yellow-faced pocket gopher remains a “species of greatest conservation need” in Kansas because of agricultural threats, it evidently is not imperiled at this time.
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Vol. 68 • No. 4