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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

A DRIFT FENCE SURVEY OF THE SMALL VERTEBRATES IN A MIXED HARDWOOD HABITAT IN LAMAR COUNTY, GEORGIA

Abstract

Accurate range and distribution data are critical to detecting species and community responses to a variety of potential threats and ever-changing environmental and landscape conditions. However, the known distribution of many species in Georgia can only be inferred from a small number of widely dispersed capture records. This paucity of records may limit the ability of wildlife professionals to effectively manage Georgia’s wildlife resources and detect threats or changing ranges early. Lamar County, located in the west-central area of the state in the Piedmont province, has experienced minimal sampling effort and the status of many small vertebrates that could be considered as possible residents of the region is unknown. To improve upon our understanding of the small vertebrates within the county and contribute to the regional data, we conducted a drift fence survey in a small mixed- hardwood habitat in Lamar County, Georgia. Pitfall traps were opened for four consecutive days every other week between May and November 2016. Amphibians and reptiles accounted for approximately 80% of our 61 total captures and, although our capture rates were low (< 0.2 animals/trap night), we documented the presence of thirteen species in this small habitat patch. Our small survey, which produced three new county records, indicates a lack of sampling effort rather than a lack of suitable habitat within the county. Additional sampling efforts on a larger scale, of a longer duration, and in non-drought periods are likely to have higher capture rates and produce additional county records.

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