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The Vertebrate Fauna of Ichauway, Baker County, GA

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  • Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center

Abstract and Figures

Less than 4% of the once extensive Pinus palustris (longleaf pine) ecosystem remains today. Although longleaf pine habitats are recognized for their high species diversity, few published accounts document the vertebrate faunas of remaining tracts. Here we report on the vertebrate species richness of Ichauway, an 11,300-ha property in Baker County, GA. The property includes ca. 7300 ha of longleaf pine with native ground cover, along with more than 30 seasonal wetlands and ca. 45 km of riparian habitat associated with Ichawaynochaway Creek, Big Cypress Creek, and the Flint River. The fauna includes 61 species of fish, 31 amphibians, 53 reptiles, 191 birds, and 41 mammals. Despite the relative isolation of the property from other natural ecosystems, the vertebrate fauna of Ichauway is remarkably diverse and may offer an example of reference conditions to guide restoration of longleaf pine forests, associated seasonal wetlands, and riparian areas elsewhere in the southeastern US.
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SOUTHEASTERN NATURALIST2006 5(4):599–620
The Vertebrate Fauna of Ichauway, Baker County, GA
Lora L. Smith
1,*
, David A. Steen
1
, Jonathan M. Stober
1
, Mary C. Freeman
2
,
Steve W. Golladay
1
, L. Mike Conner
1
, and Jessica Cochrane
1
Abstract - Less than 4% of the once extensive Pinus palustris (longleaf pine)
ecosystem remains today. Although longleaf pine habitats are recognized for their
high species diversity, few published accounts document the vertebrate faunas of
remaining tracts. Here we report on the vertebrate species richness of Ichauway, an
11,300-ha property in Baker County, GA. The property includes ca. 7300 ha of
longleaf pine with native ground cover, along with more than 30 seasonal wetlands
and ca. 45 km of riparian habitat associated with Ichawaynochaway Creek, Big
Cypress Creek, and the Flint River. The fauna includes 61 species of fish, 31
amphibians, 53 reptiles, 191 birds, and 41 mammals. Despite the relative isolation of
the property from other natural ecosystems, the vertebrate fauna of Ichauway is
remarkably diverse and may offer an example of reference conditions to guide
restoration of longleaf pine forests, associated seasonal wetlands, and riparian areas
elsewhere in the southeastern US.
Introduction
Prior to European settlement, the Pinus palustris Miller (longleaf pine)
ecosystem occupied 37 million ha in the southern United States (Frost
1993). Today ca 1.2 million ha of longleaf pine forest remain (Brockway and
Outcalt 2000), of which < 0.5% is old growth (Means 1996, Varner and
Kush 2004). Most of the original forest has been converted to crop land or
pine plantations (Barnett 1999, Ewel 1990, Landers et al. 1995, Wahlenberg
1946) and few sites exist where studies addressing the biodiversity of this
habitat type may be conducted.
The Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center (JWJERC) is located at
Ichauway, a former quail (Colinus virginianus [Northern Bobwhite]) hunt-
ing plantation on the Dougherty Plain ca. 20 km south of Newton, Baker
County, GA (Fig. 1). The 11,300-ha research site is managed with pre-
scribed fire to maintain a forest dominated by longleaf pine, with Aristida
stricta Michaux (wiregrass) and other herbaceous vegetation in the ground
cover (Fig. 2). Scattered hardwoods, primarily Quercus spp. (oaks), exist
within the longleaf pine matrix. The site has ca. 1200 ha of agricultural
fields, and an additional 120 ha of wildlife food plots. Land use within the
region is ca. 50% agriculture and 30% managed forest lands (primarily pine
plantations; Golladay and Battle 2002), and the landscape immediately
surrounding Ichauway is dominated by center-pivot agriculture (Michener et
1
Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center, Route 2, Box 2324, Newton, GA,
39870-9651.
2
US Geological Survey, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, School of
Forest Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602-2152.
*
Corresponding
author - lora.smith@jonesctr.org.
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4600
Figure 1. Location of Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Also depicted are three Wildlife
Management Areas: Elmodel, Chickasawhatchee, and Mayhaw WMA.
L.L. Smith et al.2006 601
al. 1998). However, three large protected areas—Mayhaw Wildlife Manage-
ment Area (WMA), Elmodel WMA, and Chickasawhatchee Swamp WMA
lie west and north of Ichauway within 25 km, although the closest is within
less than 1 km. Drew et al. (1998) provide a detailed description of the
region and plant communities of Ichauway.
Ichauway has more than 30 seasonal wetlands that support a diverse array
of wildlife. There are also numerous ephemeral depressions that fill only
during very wet conditions. Ichawaynochaway Creek runs through the prop-
erty for 23 km, and the Flint River borders the eastern boundary. Big Cypress
Creek, an intermittent stream, intersects the southwestern portion of the
property. Both Ichawaynochaway Creek and Big Cypress Creek are tributar-
ies of the Flint River, which ultimately drains into the Apalachicola River.
Although the longleaf pine ecosystem (and associated seasonal wetlands) is
recognized for its high diversity of plants and animals (Dodd 1995, Guyer and
Figure 2. General habitat map of Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Habitats include
agriculture (wildlife food plots and agricultural fields), creek (Ichawaynochaway and
Big Cypress Creek), longleaf pine, mixed hardwood pine forests, river (Flint River),
and seasonal wetlands. Riparian areas discussed in the text are adjacent to the Flint
River and Ichawaynochaway Creek.
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4602
Bailey 1993, Kirkman et al. 1999), few published accounts document verte-
brate species richness in remaining tracts. The value of such accounts may lie in
their use as references to guide restoration of degraded sites. Here we document
the vertebrate species richness of Ichauway. Collectively, the data summarize
more than 50 years of wildlife research on the property. This activity began
with the establishment of the Emory Field Station in 1939 and intensified when
the site became the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research Center in 1994.
Materials and Methods
A variety of collecting techniques has been used for vertebrates at
Ichauway (Table 1). Fishes have been sampled using boat and backpack
electrofishing, rotenone, angling, seining, and minnow traps (Keefer 1987,
Freeman and Freeman 1992). The primary collecting periods were 1985–
1987 (streams; Keefer [1997]), 1990–1992 (streams and wetlands; Freeman
and Freeman [1992]), and 2004 (wetlands; A. Liner, JWJERC, Newton, GA,
pers. comm.). From 1997–2005, amphibians and reptiles were collected in
and around seasonal wetlands using drift fences with pitfall and funnel traps,
minnow and crayfish traps, dipnets, call surveys, automated frog call record-
ers, cover board arrays, PVC pipe traps, and hand capture (Heyer et al. 1994,
Johnson and Barichivich 2004). Hoop traps, basking traps, and snorkel
surveys have been used to capture turtles on Ichawaynochaway Creek, and
snake trap arrays (Rudolph et al. 1999) have been deployed in longleaf pine
uplands. Many species of amphibians and reptiles have also been recorded
incidentally on Ichauway, primarily on the 450 km of interior roads (15 km
paved, 435 km unpaved).
Table 1. Techniques used to sample vertebrate taxa at Ichauway. The habitat type and approxi-
mate number of sites sampled are indicated in parentheses. Habitat types included creek (CR),
longleaf pine (LLP), and seasonal wetland (SW).
Fish Amphibians Reptiles
Electrofishing (CR, 18) Automated call recorders (SW, >30) Basking trap (CR, 4)
Rotenone (CR, 3) Crayfish trap (SW, 30) Crayfish trap (SW, 30)
Angling (CR, 30) Minnow trap (SW, 30) Hoop trap (CR, 1)
Seining (CR, 15) Dipnet (SW, >30) Incidental (site-wide)
Minnow traps (SW, 30) Hand capture (site-wide) Snake trap (LLP, 16)
Dipnet (SW, > 30) Incidental (site-wide) Cover boards (SW, 12)
Call surveys (SW, 30) Snorkel surveys (CR, 2)
Drift fence/pitfall trap (SW, 2)
Drift fence/funnel trap (SW, 4)
Cover boards (SW, 12)
PVC pipe refugia (SW, 29)
Birds Mammals
Point counts (site-wide) Box traps (site-wide)
Incidental (site-wide) Foot-gripping traps (site-wide)
MAPS station Sherman traps (site-wide)
Sport hunting (site-wide)
L.L. Smith et al.2006 603
Birds at Ichauway have been identified through incidental observation,
point counts (Bibby et al. 1992), and a Monitoring Avian Productivity and
Survivorship (MAPS) station (DeSante and Burton 1994). The first docu-
mentation of birds on Ichauway occurred in the early 1950s (Norris 1951; M.
Hopkins, Emory Field Station, pers. comm.). Documentation resumed in
1991 with recording of incidental observations of birds observed on site. In
1995, JWJERC teamed with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources
(GADNR) and Partners in Flight (PIF) to conduct point counts within
designated habitats on site, and from 2000–2005, a MAPS station was
maintained in longleaf-wiregrass habitat.
Most mammals were documented by a variety of trapping approaches
and direct observation that were initiated in 1997 and continued through
2005. Bats were sampled with mist nets (Kunz and Kurta 1988) placed over
bodies of water. Terrestrial species were captured with Sherman traps, box
traps (Mosby 1955), and foot-gripping traps (Schemnitz 1994). Sport hunt-
ing provided documentation of game species on the property.
Cumulatively, the techniques described above have allowed us to develop a
reasonably comprehensive list of the vertebrate species of Ichauway. We
categorized the general habitat types where species were observed as: agricul-
tural fields, creek, longleaf pine forest, mixed hardwood pine, seasonal
wetland, river, and riparian areas. Taxonomy follows Whitaker and Hamilton
(1998) for mammals, Crother (2000) for amphibians and reptiles, Boschung
and Mayden (2004) for fish, and the AOU (2005) 46
th
checklist for birds.
Results
A large percentage of the fish fauna of the Apalachicola River Basin
occurs at Ichauway. Of approximately 80 fishes native to this ecosystem
(Couch et al. 1995), at least 61 occur in aquatic habitats at Ichauway
(Appendix 1). Collections from shoals and associated shallow areas of
Ichawaynochaway Creek typically included 15–20 species of fish with five
or more cyprinids (minnows), two to four percids (darters), and two or more
centrarchids (sunfishes). Deeper habitats harbor Lepisosteus spp. (gar),
Amia calva (bowfin), pike (Esocidae), shad (Clupeidae), bass
(Centrarchidae), and larger catfishes (Ictaluridae; Freeman and Freeman
1992). Despite annual drying, Big Cypress Creek also supports a large
number of the fishes listed above.
Many Ichauway wetlands are fishless due to seasonal drying and iso-
lation from perennially flooded refugia. However, 10 species of fish have
been observed in wetlands (Appendix 1; Freeman and Freeman 1992; A.
Liner, JWJERC, pers. comm.). Of the species observed, Notemigonus
crysoleucas (golden shiner), Gambusia holbrooki (mosquitofish),
Erimyzon sucetta (lake chubsucker), Fundulus chrysotus (golden topmin-
now), and Etheostoma fusiforme (swamp darter) represent a unique
assemblage that is rare or absent in permanent streams and rivers (Free-
man and Freeman 1992). These fish colonize isolated wetlands via
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4604
ephemeral surface flow during extremely wet periods. Refugia for such
species during seasonal drying have not been documented.
Fifty-three species of reptiles and 31 species of amphibians were docu-
mented at Ichauway from 1997–2005 (Appendices 2 and 3). These included
13 salamanders, 18 frogs, one crocodilian, 14 turtles, 10 lizards, and 28
snakes. Three species of turtles are listed as threatened by the state of
Georgia: Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise), Graptemys barbouri
(Barbour’s Map Turtle), and Macrochelys temminckii (Alligator Snapping
Turtle) (Table 2). Drymarchon couperi (Eastern Indigo Snake), a state and
federally listed threatened species, also was observed at Ichauway, although
the snakes observed were marked individuals that had been translocated to
the property in the 1980s (D. Speake, Auburn University, Auburn, AL, pers.
comm.). Ambystoma cingulatum (Flatwoods Salamander; Table 2), a feder-
ally and state-listed threatened species, has been confirmed at three seasonal
wetlands on the site; however, the most recent sighting was in 1997 (J.
Jensen, Georgia DNR, Forsyth, GA, pers. comm.).
Ichauway’s avian community consists of 191 species (Appendix 4), with
58 considered permanent residents, and 34 and 33 summer and winter
residents, respectively. Birds of fire-maintained pine grassland habitats,
such as the state-listed rare Aimophila aestivalis (Bachman’s Sparrow), are
abundant at Ichauway. The Flint River corridor provides an avenue for
migration and has yielded sightings of 38 transient species; among these is
the state-listed endangered Falco peregrinus (Peregrine Falcon). Thirteen
summer and 12 winter vagrants are also found before and after breeding
Table 2. Vertebrate species with protected status observed on Ichauway, Baker County, GA.
State (nongame) and Federal status categories include: E = endangered; T = threatened; R =
rare; U = Unusual (state only); C = Candidate, currently under review. Source: http://
georgiawildlife.dnr.state.ga.us/content/displaycontent.asp?txtDocument=89&txtPage=2.
Species State status Federal status
Fish
Alosa alabamae UC
Ameiurus serracanthus R
Notropis harperi R
Notropis hypsilepis T
Amphibians
Ambystoma cingulatum TT
Notophthalmus perstriatus R
Reptiles
Drymarchon couperi
1
TT
Gopherus polyphemus T
Graptemys barbouri T
Macrochelys temminckii T
Birds
Aimophila aestivalis R
Picoides borealis EE
1
Observed individuals were translocated to Ichauway, last observation was in 2000 (R.D.
Birkhead, Auburn University, pers. comm.).
L.L. Smith et al.2006 605
season; these include the state-listed rare Elanoides forficatus (Swallow-
tailed Kite) and the state endangered and federally listed Haliaeetus
leucocephalus (Bald Eagle) and Mycteria americana (Wood Stork). The
state and federally endangered Picoides borealis (Red-cockaded Wood-
pecker [RCW]) was found at Ichauway during the 1950s, but the population
dwindled to one bird by 1997. In 1999, a cooperative restoration effort
between JWJERC and GADNR was begun to reestablish a population of
RCWs as private lands mitigation. The RCW population in 2005 consisted
of 18 active clusters and ca. 50 birds. Meleagris gallopavo (Wild Turkeys)
were reestablished on the property during the late 1980s through a coopera-
tive effort with GaDNR. Over the past 55 years, the introduced Streptopelia
decaoto (Eurasian Collared-dove) and Bubulcus ibis (Cattle Egret) have
expanded their ranges into the local area and established populations.
Forty-one species of mammal have been observed on Ichauway since
1993 (Appendix 5). None of the mammals documented on Ichauway are
state or federally protected. However, two species characteristic of the
southeastern longleaf pine forest, Sciurus niger shermani (Sherman’s fox
squirrel; Turner and Laerm 1993) and Geomys pinetus (southeastern pocket
gopher), are common in virtually all longleaf pine forests on site.
Discussion
Vertebrates documented at Ichauway include 61 species of fish, 31
amphibians, 53 reptiles, 191 birds, and 41 mammals. Of fishes known to
occur in the Apalachicola River Basin, 41% have been observed at
Ichauway. Fully 42% of the amphibian species and 55% of the reptile
species found in longleaf pine forests were recorded on site (31 of 74
amphibians and 53 of 96 reptiles [Dodd 1995], or 31 of 73 amphibians and
53 of 95 reptiles [Guyer and Bailey 1993]). The 191 bird species that have
been recorded at Ichauway represent 47% of the 408 species on the Georgia
state list (Beaton et al. 2003); of these, 40 are closely associated with
longleaf pine habitat. There are 91 species of mammals that occur in Georgia
(Golley 1962, Whitaker and Hamilton 1998); 45% of these species have
been documented on Ichauway. Two mammals characteristic of longleaf
pine forest, the southeastern pocket gopher and Sherman’s fox squirrel, are
common at Ichauway.
The greatest conservation significance of Ichauway, in terms of fishes,
probably lies in the preservation of assemblages native to the Apalachicola/
Flint River system, rather than the protection of individual species. This
especially applies to fishes endemic to the Apalachicola River Basin and to
striped bass, which require riverine springs for summer refuge. The Flint
River and Ichawaynochaway Creek are also of regional importance because
they support populations of Barbour’s Map Turtle and Alligator Snapping
Turtle, two species of concern in the southeast. Continuing loss of high-
quality habitat in the Apalachicola River Basin may make Ichauway an
important reserve for these species.
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4606
Although seasonal wetlands comprise only about 3% of the Ichauway
land base, they contribute disproportionately to amphibian diversity.
Twenty-eight (90%) of the amphibian species observed in this study were
found in seasonal wetlands. Of these, 13 breed almost exclusively in these
wetlands (Moler and Franz 1987) and spend a significant portion of their
lives in the surrounding longleaf pine forest. Seasonal wetlands also support
high plant and invertebrate diversity at Ichauway (Battle and Golladay 2002,
Kirkman et al. 1999). The longleaf pine habitat at Ichauway supports a
diverse array of reptiles, and the property hosts one of the largest popula-
tions of Gopher Tortoises in Georgia (Smith et al., in press).
Three birds native to pine-grassland ecosystems, Bachman’s Sparrow,
Sitta pusilla (Brown-headed Nuthatch), and Lanius ludovicianus (Logger-
head Shrike), are abundant at Ichauway. The grassland communities also
provide ideal habitat for a diverse wintering sparrow community. The
Red-cockaded Woodpecker population at Ichauway was limited by the
availability of suitable roosting and nesting cavities. With artificial insert
cavities, intensive habitat management, and translocation of 30 subadult
RCWs, the population has grown at an average annual rate of 25% per
year since 2000 (Stober and Jack 2004; J.M. Stober, JWJERC Newton,
GA, unpub.data).
The extant vertebrate fauna of Ichauway represents a significant propor-
tion of that of the Southeastern Coastal Plain. However, the property was
heavily timbered in the early 1900s, and portions of the site were extensively
used for agriculture during the late 20
th
century. At present, the predominant
land use surrounding Ichauway is center-pivot agriculture (Michener et al.
1998). The full effect of this large-scale habitat alteration on Ichauway’s
vertebrate fauna is unknown. Nonetheless, likely due to the diversity of
habitat types on-site, including seasonal wetlands, the fauna of Ichauway is
remarkably diverse and may offer an example of reference conditions to
guide restoration of longleaf pine forests and riparian systems elsewhere in
the southeastern US.
Acknowledgments
Funding for the study was provided by the Joseph W. Jones Ecological Research
Center at Ichauway. The data presented represent considerable effort by many
graduate students, field technicians, and other Ichauway staff. We especially thank
Jimmy Atkinson, Bobby Bass, Roger Birkhead, Jim Bradley, Aubrey Heupel, Shan-
non Hoss, Brent Howze, Anna Liner, Gabe Miller, Shannan Miller, Jack Mulliford,
Dale Rigsby, Robert Smith, Sean Sterrett, Amanda Subalusky, and Danielle Temple.
John Jensen, Steve A. Johnson, Linda LaClaire, and John Palis documented the
occurrence of several rare amphibians on the property. We thank Jean Brock for
assistance with developing the habitat map. Comments from two anonymous review-
ers greatly improved the manuscript.
L.L. Smith et al.2006 607
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Appendix 1. Fishes known from Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Species presence
confirmed by Freeman and Freeman (1992), Keefer (1987), or by Dr. D.C. Scott,
University of Georgia (1948, Georgia Museum of Natural History collection records).
* = endemic (species occur as natives only in the Apalachicola River system); † =
introduced. Habitat types included creek (CR) and seasonal wetland (SW).
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Lampreys
Ichthyomyzon gagei Hubbs and Trautman Southern brook lamprey CR
Gars
Lepisosteus oculatus Winchell Spotted gar CR
Lepisosteus osseus Linnaeus Longnose gar CR
Bowfin
Amia calva Linnaeus Bowfin CR, SW
Freshwater Eels
Anguilla rostrata Lesueur American eel CR
Shads and herrings
Alosa alabamae Jordan and Evermann Alabama shad CR
Dorosoma cepedianum Lesueur Gizzard shad CR
Pikes
Esox americanus Gmelin Redfin pickerel CR
Esox niger Lesueur Chain pickerel CR
Minnows
Cyprinella callitaenia* Bailey and Gibbs Bluestripe shiner CR
Cyprinella venusta Girard Blacktail shiner CR
Cyprinus carpio† Linnaeus Common carp CR
Hybopsis sp. “Coastal chub” CR
Notemigonus crysoleucas Mitchill Golden shiner SW
Notropis chalybeus Cope Ironcolor shiner CR
Notropis harperi Fowler Redeye chub CR
Notropis hypsilepis Suttkus and Raney Highscale shiner CR
Notropis longirostris Hay Longnose shiner CR
Notropis maculatus Hay Taillight shiner CR
Notropis petersoni Fowler Coastal shiner CR
Notropis texanus Girard Weed shiner CR
Opsopoeodus emiliae Hay Pugnose minnow CR
Pteronotropis grandipinnis Jordan Apalachee shiner CR
Suckers
Erimyzon sucetta Lacepède Lake chubsucker SW
Minytrema melanops Rafinesque Spotted sucker CR
Moxostoma lachneri* Robins and Raney Greater jumprock CR
Moxostoma sp.* “Apalachicola redhorse” CR
Bullhead catfish
Ameiurus brunneus Jordan Snail bullhead CR
Ameiurus melas Rafinesque Black bullhead SW, CR
Ameiurus nebulosus Lesueur Brown bullhead SW, CR
L.L. Smith et al.2006 611
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Ameiurus serracanthus Yerger and Relyea Spotted bullhead CR
Ictalurus punctatus Rafinesque Channel catfish CR
Noturus gyrinus Mitchill Tadpole madtom CR
Noturus leptacathus Jordan Speckled madtom CR
Pylodictis olivaris† Rafinesque Flathead catfish CR
Pirate Perches
Aphredoderus sayanus Gilliams Pirate perch CR, SW
Top minnows
Fundulus chrysotus Günther Golden topminnow SW
Fundulus escambiae Bollman Russetfin topminnow CR
Live bearers
Gambusia holbrooki Girard Eastern mosquitofish SW, CR
Silversides
Labidesthes sicculus Cope Brook silverside CR
Needlefish
Strongylura marina Walbaum Atlantic needlefish CR
Pigmy Sunfishes
Elassoma zonatum Jordan Banded pygmy sunfish CR
Temperate bass
Morone saxatilis Walbaum Striped bass CR
Sunfish and bass
Ambloplites ariommus Viosca Shadow bass CR
Centrarchus macropterus Lacepède Flier SW, CR
Lepomis auritus Linnaeus Redbreast sunfish CR
Lepomis cyanellus† Rafinesque Green sunfish CR
Lepomis gulosus Cuvier Warmouth CR
Lepomis macrochirus Rafinesque Bluegill sunfish CR
Lepomis marginatus Holbrook Dollar sunfish CR
Lepomis megalotis† Rafinesque Longear sunfish CR
Lepomis microlophus Günther Redear sunfish CR
Lepomis miniatus x L. punctatus
1
Redspotted sunfish - CR
spotted sunfish contact
populations
Micropterus salmoides Lacepède Largemouth bass CR
Micropterus cataractae* Williams and Shoal bass CR
Burgess
Pomoxis nigromaculatus Lesueur Black crappie CR
Darters
Etheostoma edwini Hubbs and Cannon Brown darter CR
Etheostoma fusiforme Girard Swamp darter SW
Etheostoma swaini Jordan Gulf darter CR
Percina nigrofasciata Agassiz Blackbanded darter CR
Percina sp.* “Halloween darter” CR
1
See: Warren 1992.
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4612
Appendix 2. Reptiles known from Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Species listed were
documented on-site from 1995–2005. Habitat types included agricultural (AG),
creek (CR), longleaf pine (LLP), mixed hardwood pine (MHP), seasonal wetland
(SW), river (R), and riparian area (RP). UK = unknown.
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Crocodilians
Alligator mississippiensis Daudin American Alligator CR, SW, LLP, R
Turtles
Apalone ferox Schneider Florida Softshell SW
Apalone spinifera Lesueuer Spiny Softshell CR
Chelydra serpentina
Linnaeus Snapping Turtle SW
Deirochelys reticularia Latreille Chicken Turtle SW
Gopherus polyphemus Daudin Gopher Tortoise LLP, MHP
Graptemys barbouri Carr and Barbour’s Map Turtle CR
Marchand
Kinosternon subrubrum Lacepède Eastern Mud Turtle SW, LLP, MHP
Macrochelys temminckii Troost Alligator Snapping Turtle CR
Pseudemys concinna LeConte River Cooter CR, SW
Pseudemys floridana LeConte Florida Cooter CR, SW
Sternotherus minor Agassiz Loggerhead Musk Turtle CR
Sternotherus odoratus Latreille Stinkpot SW
Terrapene carolina Linnaeus Eastern Box Turtle LLP, MHP, RP
Trachemys scripta Schoepff Yellow-bellied Slider SW, CR, LLP
Lizards
Anolis carolinensis Voigt Green Anole LLP, MHP
Aspidocelis sexlineatus Linnaeus Six-lined Racerunner LLP
Eumeces egregius Baird Mole Skink LLP
Eumeces fasciatus Linnaeus Common Five-lined Skink LLP, MHP
Eumeces inexpectatus Taylor Southeastern Five-lined Skink LLP, MHP
Eumeces laticeps Schneider Broad-headed Skink LLP, MHP
Ophisaurus attenuatus Cope Slender Glass Lizard LLP
Ophisaurus ventralis Linnaeus Eastern Glass Lizard LLP
Sceloporus undulatus Bosc and Eastern Fence Lizard LLP, MHP
Daudin
Scincella lateralis Say Ground Skink LLP, MHP, SW
Snakes
Agkistrodon contortrix Linnaeus Copperhead LLP, MHP
Agkistrodon piscivorus Lacepède Cottonmouth SW
Cemophora coccinea Blumenbach Scarlet Snake LLP
Coluber constrictor Linnaeus Black Racer LLP, MHP, SW
Crotalus adamanteus Palisot Eastern Diamondback LLP, MHP
de Beauvois Rattlesnake
Crotalus horridus Linnaeus Timber Rattlesnake LLP, MHP
Diadophis punctatus Linnaeus Ring-necked Snake SW
Drymarchon couperi Holbrook Eastern Indigo Snake LLP
Elaphe guttata Linnaeus Corn Snake LLP
Elaphe obsoleta Duméril Gray Rat Snake LLP, MHP, RP
Farancia abacura Holbrook Red-bellied Mud Snake SW
L.L. Smith et al.2006 613
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Farancia erytrogramma Palisot Rainbow Snake RP, CR
de Beauvois
Heterodon platirhinos Latreille Eastern Hog-nosed Snake LLP, MHP
Heterodon simus Linnaeus Southern Hog-nosed Snake LLP
Lampropeltis getula Linnaeus Eastern King Snake LLP
Lampropeltis triangulum Lacepède Scarlet Kingsnake LLP, MHP
Masticophis flagellum Shaw Coachwhip LLP, MHP
Nerodia erythrogaster Forster Plain-bellied Water Snake SW
Nerodia fasciata Linnaeus Southern Water Snake SW
Nerodia taxispilota Holbrook Brown Water Snake CR, RP
Opheodrys aestivus Linnaeus Rough Green Snake RP
Pituophis melanoleucus Daudin Pine Snake LLP
Sistrurus miliarius
Linnaeus Pygmy Rattlesnake UK
Storeria dekayi Holbrook Dekay’s Brown Snake SW
Storeria occipitomaculata Storer Red-bellied Snake SW
Thamnophis sauritus Linnaeus Eastern Ribbon Snake SW
Thamnophis sirtalis Linnaeus Common Garter Snake LLP, SW
Virginia valeriae Baird and Girard Smooth Earth Snake SW
Appendix 3. Amphibians known from Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Habitat types
included creek (CR), longleaf pine (LLP), mixed hardwood pine (MHP), seasonal
wetland (SW), and riparian area (RP).
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Salamanders
Ambystoma cingulatum Cope Flatwoods Salamander SW
Ambystoma opacum Gravenhorst Marbled Salamander RP, SW
Ambystoma talpoideum Holbrook Mole Salamander SW
Ambystoma tigrinum Green Tiger Salamander SW
Amphiuma means Garden Two-toed Amphiuma SW
Eurycea cirrigera Green Southern Two-lined CR, RP
Salamander
Eurycea guttolineata Holbrook Three-Lined Salamander RP
Eurycea quadridigitata Holbrook Dwarf Salamander SW
Notophthalmus perstriatus Bishop Striped Newt SW
Notophthalmus viridescens Rafinesque Eastern Newt SW
Plethodon grobmani Allen and Neill Southeastern Slimy LLP, SW
Salamander
Pseudobranchus striatus LeConte Northern Dwarf Siren SW
Siren lacertina Linnaeus Greater Siren SW
Frogs
Acris gryllus LeConte Southern Cricket Frog RP, SW
Bufo terrestris Bonnaterre Southern Toad LLP, MHP, SW
Gastrophryne carolinensis Holbrook Eastern Narrow-mouthed SW, LLP
Toad
Hyla chrysoscelis Cope Cope’s Gray Treefrog SW
Hyla cinerea Schneider Green Treefrog LLP, SW
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4614
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Hyla femoralis Bosc Pinewoods Treefrog LLP, SW
Hyla gratiosa LeConte Barking Treefrog LLP, SW
Hyla squirella Bosc Squirrel Treefrog LLP, SW
Pseudacris crucifer Wied-Neuwied Spring Peeper RP, SW
Pseudacris feriarum Baird Upland Chorus Frog SW
Pseudacris nigrita LeConte Southern Chorus Frog SW
Pseudacris ocularis Bosc and Daudin Little Grass Frog SW
Pseudacris ornata Holbrook Ornate Chorus Frog SW
Rana capito LeConte Gopher Frog LLP, SW
Rana catesbeiana Shaw Bull Frog SW
Rana grylio Stejneger Pig Frog SW
Rana sphenocephala Cope Southern Leopard Frog SW
Scaphiopus holbrooki Harlan Eastern Spadefoot Toad LLP, SW
Appendix 4. Birds known from Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Species were docu-
mented on-site from 1950–2005. R = Residency (PR = permanent resident, SR =
summer resident, WR = winter resident, SV = summer vagrant, WV = winter vagrant,
T = transient, AC = accidental); I = incidental, P = point count, M = MAPS. † =
introduced. Habitat types included agricultural (AG), creek (CR), longleaf pine
(LLP), mixed hardwood pine (MHP), seasonal wetland (SW), river (R), and riparian
area (RP), while G = habitat generalist. † = introduced species.
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Geese and ducks
Aix sponsa L. Wood Duck PR Y SW, RP
Anas acuta L. Northern Pintail WV Y SW, RP
Anas discors L. Blue-winged Teal WR Y SW, RP
Anas platyrhynchos L. Mallard WV Y SW, RP
Anas rubripes Brewster American Black Duck WV Y SW, RP
Anas strepera L. Gadwall WR Y SW, RP
Aythya affinis Eyton Lesser Scaup WR Y SW, RP
Aythya collaris Donovan Ring-necked Duck WV Y SW, RP
Aythya valisineria Wilson Canvasback WR Y SW, RP
Branta canadensis L. Canada Goose WV Y SW, RP
Chen caerulescens L. Snow Goose WV Y SW, RP
Lophodytes cucullatus L. Hooded Merganser WV Y SW, RP
Upland game birds
Meleagris gallopavo L. Wild Turkey PR Y RP, MHP,
LLP
Colinus virginianus L. Northern Bobwhite PR Y Y LLP
Grebes
Podiceps auritus L. Horned Grebe WV Y SW, RP
Podilymbus podiceps L. Pied-billed Grebe PR Y SW, RP
True cormorants
Phalacrocorax auritus Lesson Double-crested SV Y R
Cormorant
L.L. Smith et al.2006 615
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Anhinga
Anhinga anhinga L. Anhinga SV Y R
Wading birds
Ardea alba L. Great Egret SV Y SW,CR
Ardea herodias L. Great Blue Heron PR Y SW,CR
Botaurus lentiginosus Rackett American Bittern WR Y SW,CR
Bubulcus ibis L. Cattle Egret SR Y SW,CR
Butorides virescens L. Green Heron SR Y SW,CR
Egretta caerulea L. Little Blue Heron SR Y SW,CR
Egretta thula Molina Snowy Egret SV Y SW,CR
Egretta tricolor Muller Tricolored Heron SV Y SW,CR
Eudocimus albus L. White Ibis SV Y SW,CR
Mycteria americana L. Wood Stork SV Y SW,CR
Nycticorax nycticorax L. Black-crowned Night SV Y SW, RP
Heron
Nycticorax violacea L. Yellow-crowned Night SV Y SW, RP
Heron
New world vultures
Cathartes aura L. Turkey Vulture PR Y LLP, RP
Coragyps atratus Bechstein Black Vulture PR Y LLP, RP
Ospreys
Pandion haliaetus L. Osprey SV Y R, CR
Kites
Elanoides forficatus L. Swallow-tailed Kite SV Y RP
Ictinia mississippiensis Wilson Mississippi Kite SR Y RP
Eagles
Haliaeetus leucocephalus L. Bald Eagle PR Y RP
Northern Harrier
Circus cyaneus L. Northern Harrier WV Y AG, LLP
Hawks
Accipiter cooperii Bonaparte Cooper’s Hawk PR Y LLP, MHP
Accipiter striatus Vieillot Sharp-shinned Hawk WV Y LLP, MHP
Buteos
Buteo jamaicensis Gmelin Red-tailed Hawk PR Y LLP
Buteo lineatus Gmelin Red-shouldered Hawk PR Y RP
Buteo platypterus Vieillot Broad-winged Hawk SR Y RP
Falcons
Falco columbarius L. Merlin T Y LLP, AG
Falco peregrinus Tunstall Peregrine Falcon T Y LLP, AG
Falco sparverius L. American Kestrel WR Y LLP, AG
Rails
Fulica americana Gmelin American Coot T Y SW
Gallinula chloropus L. Common Moorhen PR Y SW
Porphyrio martinica L. Purple Gallinule SR Y SW
Rallus elegans Audubon King Rail SR Y SW
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4616
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Shorebirds
Actitis macularia L. Spotted Sandpiper SV Y SW
Bartramia longicauda Upland Sandpiper T Y SW
Bechstein
Calidris melanotos Vieillot Pectoral Sandpiper T Y SW
Calidris minutilla Vieillot Least Sandpiper WV Y SW
Calidris pusilla Bonaparte Semipalmated Sandpiper T Y SW
Charadrius semipalmatus L. Semipalmated Plover T Y SW
Charadrius vociferus L. Killdeer PR Y SW
Gallinago gallinago L. Common Snipe WR Y SW
Grus canadensis L. Sandhill Crane T Y SW
Scolopax minor Gmelin American Woodcock WV Y SW
Tringa flavipes Gmelin Lesser Yellowlegs T Y SW
Tringa melanoleuca Gmelin Greater Yellowlegs T Y SW
Tringa solitaria Wilson Solitary Sandpiper T Y SW
Gulls
Larus delawarensis Ord Ring-billed Gull T Y G
Larus argentatus Pontoppidan Herring Gull T Y G
Terns
Chlidonias niger L. Black Tern T Y G
Pigeons and Doves
Columba livia † Gmelin Rock Pigeon PR Y AG
Columbina passerina L. Common Ground-dove PR Y Y LLP
Streptopelia decaocto Eurasian Collared-dove PR Y AG
Frivaldszky
Streptopelia risoria † L. Ringed Turtle-dove PR Y G
Zenaida macroura L. Mourning Dove PR Y LLP
Cuckoos
Coccyzus americanus L. Yellow-billed Cuckoo SR Y RP,MHP
Owls
Tyto alba Scopoli Barn Owl PR Y AG, LLP
Megascops asio L. Eastern Screech Owl PR Y LLP, MHP
Bubo virginianus Gmelin Great Horned Owl PR Y LLP
Strix varia Barton Barred Owl PR Y SW,RP
Goatsuckers and swifts
Caprimulgus carolinensis Chuck-will’s Widow SR Y LLP
Gmelin
Caprimulgus vociferus Wilson Whip-poor-will T Y LLP
Chaetura pelagica L. Chimney Swift SR Y LLP
Chordeiles minor Forster Common Nighthawk SR Y LLP
Hummingbirds
Archilochus colubris L. Ruby-throated SR Y Y RP, MHP
Hummingbird
Kingfishers
Ceryle alcyon L. Belted Kingfisher PR Y RP,SW
Woodpeckers
Colaptes auratus L. Northern Flicker PR Y LLP
Dryocopus pileatus L. Pileated Woodpecker PR Y MHP, RP
L.L. Smith et al.2006 617
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Melanerpes carolinus L. Red-bellied Woodpecker PR Y Y LLP
Melanerpes erythrocephalus L. Red-headed Woodpecker PR Y Y LLP
Picoides borealis Vieillot Red-Cockaded PR Y LLP
Woodpecker
Picoides pubescens L. Downy Woodpecker PR Y LLP
Picoides villosus L. Hairy Woodpecker PR Y LLP
Sphyrapicus varius L. Yellow-bellied WR Y LLP
Sapsucker
Tyrant flycatchers
Contopus virens L. Eastern Wood-pewee SR Y LLP
Empidonax flaviventris Baird Yellow-bellied T Y LLP
Flycatcher
Empidonax virescens Vieillot Acadian Flycatcher SR Y RP
Myiarchus crinitus L. Great Crested Flycatcher SR Y Y LLP
Pyrocephalus rubinus Boddaert Vermilion Flycatcher T Y RP
Sayornis phoebe Latham Eastern Phoebe PR Y LLP
Tyrannus forficatus Gmelin Scissor-tailed Flycatcher AC Y LLP, AG
Tyrannus tyrannus L. Eastern Kingbird SR Y Y LLP, AG
Shrikes and vireos
Lanius ludovicianus L. Loggerhead Shrike PR Y LLP,SW
Vireo flavifrons Vieillot Yellow-throated Vireo SR Y RP
Vireo griseus Boddaert White-eyed Vireo SR Y Y RP, MHP
Vireo olivaceus L. Red-eyed Vireo SR Y RP, MHP
Vireo solitarius Wilson Blue-headed Vireo WR Y RP, MHP
Jays and crows
Corvus brachyranchus Brehm American Crow PR Y LLP
Corvus ossifragus Wilson Fish Crow PR Y LLP
Cyanocitta cristata L. Blue Jay PR Y Y LLP
Swallows
Hirundo rustica L. Barn Swallow SR Y RP
Progne subis L. Purple Martin SR Y AG
Stelgidopteryx serripennis Northern Rough-winged SR Y LLP, R
Audubon Swallow
Tachycineta bicolor Vieillot Tree Swallow T Y G
Chickadees
Baeolophus bicolor L. Tufted Titmouse PR Y Y LLP
Poecile carolinensis Audubon Carolina Chickadee PR Y Y LLP
Nuthatches and creepers
Cherthia americana Bonaparte Brown Creeper WR Y SW
Sitta carolinensis Latham White-breasted Nuthatch PR Y LLP
Sitta pusilla Latham Brown-headed Nuthatch PR Y LLP
Wrens
Cistothorus palustris Wilson Marsh Wren WR Y SW
Cistothorus platensis Latham Sedge Wren WR Y SW
Thryomanes bewickii Audubon Bewick’s Wren T Y SW
Thryothorus ludovicianus Carolina Wren PR Y Y LLP
Latham
Troglodytes aedon Vieillot House Wren WR Y AG
Troglodytes troglodytes L. Winter Wren WR Y SW
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4618
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Old world warblers, thrushes, and their allies
Catharus fuscescens Stephens Veery T Y RP
Catharus guttatus Pallas Hermit Thrush WR Y LLP
Catharus ustulatus Nuttall Swainson’s Thrush T Y RP
Hylocichla mustelina Gmelin Wood Thrush SR Y RP
Polioptila caerulea L. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher PR Y Y LLP
Regulus calendula L. Ruby-crowned Kinglet WR Y RP, MHP
Regulus satrapa Lichtenstein Golden-crowned Kinglet WR Y RP, MHP
Sialia sialis L. Eastern Bluebird PR Y Y LLP, AG
Turdus migratorius L. American Robin WR Y LLP, AG
Mimids
Dumetella carolinensis L. Gray Catbird PR Y Y MHP
Mimus polyglottos L. Northern Mockingbird PR Y LLP
Toxostoma rufum L. Brown Thrasher PR Y Y LLP
Starlings and mynas
Sturnus vulgaris L. European Starling PR Y Y AG
Wagtails and pipits
Anthus rubescens Tunstall American Pipit WR Y RP
Waxwings
Bombycilla cedrorum Vieillot Cedar Waxwing T Y AG
Dendroica coronata L. Yellow-rumped Warbler WR Y LLP, AG
Dendroica discolor Vieillot Prairie Warbler T Y Y Y MHP
Dendroica dominica L. Yellow-throated Warbler SR Y MHP
Dendroica fusca Muller Blackburnian Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica magnolia Wilson Magnolia Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica palmarum Gmelin Palm Warbler WR Y LLP
Dendroica pensylvanica L. Chestnut-sided Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica petechia L. Yellow Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica pinus Wilson Pine Warbler PR Y Y LLP
Dendroica striata Forster Blackpoll Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica tigrina Gmelin Cape May Warbler T Y RP
Dendroica virens Gmelin Black-throated Green T Y RP
Warbler
Geothlypis trichas L. Common Yellowthroat PR Y Y MHP,
LLP
Mniotilta varia L. Black-and-white Warbler SV Y RP, MHP
Parula americana L. Northern Parula SR Y Y RP, MHP
Protonotaria citrea Boddaert Prothonotary Warbler SR Y RP, SW
Seiurus aurocapillus L. Ovenbird T Y RP
Seiurus motacilla Vieillot Louisiana Waterthrush T Y RP
Setophaga ruticilla L. American Redstart SR Y Y RP
Vermivora celata Say Orange-crowned Warbler T Y RP
Vermivora peregrina Wilson Tennessee Warbler T Y RP
Wilsonia citrina Boddaert Hooded Warbler SR Y RP
Wood-warblers
Icteria virens L. Yellow-breasted Chat SR Y Y MHP,
LLP
Tanagers, cardinals, and their allies
Aimophila aestivalis Bachman’s Sparrow PR Y Y LLP
Lichenstein
L.L. Smith et al.2006 619
Scientific name Common name R I P M Habitat
Ammodramus henslowii Henslow’s Sparrow WR Y SW, AG
Audubon
Ammodramus leconteii Le Conte’s Sparrow WR Y SW
Audubon
Ammodramus savannarum Grasshopper Sparrow WR Y SW
Gmelin
Cardinalis cardinalis L. Northern Cardinal PR Y Y LLP, AG
Junco hyemalis L. Dark-Eyed Junco WR Y LLP, AG
Melospiza georgiana Latham Swamp Sparrow WR Y SW
Melospiza lincolnii Audubon Lincoln’s Sparrow AC Y G
Melospiza melodia Wilson Song Sparrow WR Y G
Passerculus sandwichensis Savannah Sparrow WR Y G
Gmelin
Passerella iliaca Merrem Fox Sparrow WR Y G
Passerina caerulea L. Blue Grosbeak SR Y Y LLP, AG
Passerina cyanea L. Indigo Bunting SR Y Y LLP
Pheucticus ludovicianus L. Rose-breasted Grosbeak T Y G
Pipilo erythrophthalmus L. Eastern Towhee PR Y Y LLP
Piranga olivacea Gmelin Scarlet Tanager T Y RP
Piranga rubra L. Summer Tanager SR Y Y LLP,
MHP
Pooecetes gramineus Gmelin Vesper Sparrow WR Y G
Spizella pallida Swainson Clay-colored Sparrow AC Y G
Spizella passerina Bechstein Chipping Sparrow PR Y LLP
Spizella pusilla Wilson Field Sparrow PR Y Y LLP
Zonotrichia albicollis Gmelin White-throated Sparrow WR LLP
Zonotrichia leucophrys Forster White-crowned Sparrow WR Y LLP
Icterids
Agelaius phoeniceus L. Red-winged Blackbird PR Y SW
Dolichonyx oryzivorus L. Bobolink T Y AG
Icterus spurius L. Orchard Oriole SR Y LLP, AG
Molothrus ater Boddaert Brown-headed Cowbird PR Y Y LLP, AG
Quiscalus quiscula L. Common Grackle PR Y SW, AG
Sturnella magna L. Eastern Meadowlark PR Y SW, AG
Finches and old world sparrows
Carduelis tristis L. American Goldfinch T Y AG
Carpodacus mexicanus Muller House Finch SR Y AG
Carpodacus purpureus Gmelin Purple Finch WR Y AG
Passer domesticus† L. House Sparrow PR Y AG
Appendix 5. Mammals known from Ichauway, Baker County, GA. Species were
documented from 1993–2005. Habitat types included creek (CR), longleaf pine (LLP),
mixed hardwood pine (MHP), seasonal wetland (SW), river (R), and riparian area (RP).
G = commonly found in > 3 of the habitats described above. † = introduced species.
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Shrews
Blarina carolinensis Bachman Southern short-tailed shrew G
Cryptotis parva Say Least shrew G
Southeastern Naturalist Vol. 5, No. 4620
Scientific name Common name Habitat
Rodents
Castor canadensis Kuhl Beaver CR, R, RP
Geomys pinetis Rafinesque Southeastern pocket LLP
gopher
Glaucomys volans Linnaeus Southern flying squirrel LLP, MHP
Microtus pinetorum Le Conte Pine vole LLP
Mus musculus† Linnaeus House mouse G
Neotoma floridana Ord Eastern woodrat LLP, MHP, RP
Ochrytomys nuttalli Harlan Golden mouse LLP, MHP, RP
Oryzomys palustris Harlan Rice rat SW
Peromyscus gossypinus Le Conte Cotton mouse G
Peromyscus polionotus Wagner Oldfield mouse LLP
Rattus norvegicus† Berkenhout Norway rat G
Reithrodontomys humulis Audubon Harvest mouse LLP
and Bachman
Sciurus carolinensis Gmelin Gray squirrel MHP, RP
Sciurus niger shermani Moore Sherman’s fox squirrel LLP, MHP
Sigmodon hispidus Say and Ord Cotton rat G
Tamias striatus Linnaeus Eastern chipmunk LLP, MHP
Rabbits
Sylvilagus floridanus J.A. Allen Cottontail rabbit G
Sylvilagus palustris Bachman Marsh rabbit RP, SW
Bats
Myotis austroriparius Rhoads Southeastern myotis G
Pipistrellus subflavus F. Cuvier Eastern pipistrelle G
Eptesicus fuscus Beauvois Big brown bat G
Lasiurus borealis Muller Red bat G
Lasiurus seminolus Rhoads Seminole bat G
Nycticeius humeralis Rafinesque Evening bat G
Tadarida brasiliensis I. Geoffroy Brazilian free-tailed bat G
Carnivores
Canis familiaris Linnaeus Domestic dog G
Canis latrans Say Coyote G
Felis catus Linnaeus Domestic cat G
Lutra canadensis Schreber River otter CR, R, RP
Lynx rufus Schreber Bobcat G
Mephitis mephitis Schreber Striped skunk G
Mustela vison Schreber Mink CR, R, RP
Procyon lotor Linnaeus Raccoon G
Urocyon cinereoargenteus Schreber Gray fox G
Vulpes vulpes Linnaeus Red fox G
Artiodactyls
Odocoileus virginianus Zimmermann White-tailed deer G
Sus scrofa† Linneaus Feral hog G
Armadillos
Dasypus novemcinctus Linnaeus Nine-banded armadillo G
Opossums
Didelphis virginiana Kerr Opossum G
... Mean temperatures in March are 8.5-22.5 °C (University of Georgia 2019). Gopher Tortoises and their burrows are common on upland soils on the property (Smith et al. 2006). ...
Article
Many sympatric species use Gopherus polyphemus (Gopher Tortoise) burrows as refugia from predators, extreme temperatures, and fire. As part of an ongoing project involving trail-camera monitoring at Gopher Tortoise burrows, we observed a Sciurus niger (Eastern Fox Squirrel) sheltering in an occupied burrow twice in a single day. Eastern Fox Squirrels primarily forage on the ground, and Gopher Tortoise burrows likely offer refuge from avian predators but could expose Eastern Fox Squirrels to increased predation risk from mammalian and reptilian predators. Alternatively, the squirrel may have been seeking refuge from higher-than-average temperatures. Our observation further demonstrates the importance of Gopher Tortoise burrows to vertebrate fauna in the southeastern United States.
... Powell et al. 2012R. Powell et al. , 2019, key -eggs (Altig and McDiarmid 2015), key -larvae (Altig and Ireland 1984;Altig and McDiarmid 2015), larval descriptions (Hardy and Olmon 1974;Orton 1942;Palis 1996Palis , 1997c, larval growth (Palis 1995b), larval period (Palis 1995b), longevity (Brooks et al. 2020;Palis and Means 2005), parasitism , reproduction , surveys and habitat assessments (Bishop 2004;Buhlmann 2016;Buhlmann et al. 2010;Cox and Kautz 2000;Farmer et al. 2016;Godwin 1993Godwin , 1994Godwin , 2003Gorman et al. 2016;Guyer 2001;Gorman 2011, 2013;Haas et al. 2012Haas et al. , 2014Hipes 2003;Hipes and Printiss 2002;Jackson and Hipes 2005;Means 2013;Moulis 1995;Mount 1980;Palis 1993bPalis , 1994Palis and Jensen 1995;Hipes 1997, 2000;Seyle 1994;Smith et al. 2006;Surdick 2016;Vitt 1981;Walters et al. 2006aWalters et al. , 2006b, systematics and taxonomy (Goin 1950;Martof and Gerhardt 1965;Pauly et al. 2007Pauly et al. , 2012, survey methods (Bishop et al. 2006;Goldberg et al. 2018;McKee et al. 2015;Palis 1996Palis , 1997c, and vulnerability assessment (Millsap et al. 1990;Palis and Hammerson 2008;Reece and Noss 2014). ...
... Mean temperatures in March are 8.5-22.5 °C (University of Georgia 2019). Gopher Tortoises and their burrows are common on upland soils on the property (Smith et al. 2006). ...
Article
1.Cultivation of bioenergy feedstocks is a growing land‐use worldwide, yet we have a poor understanding of how bioenergy crop management practices affect biodiversity. This knowledge gap is particularly acute for candidate cellulosic bioenergy feedstocks, such as tree plantations, and for organisms that provide important ecosystem services, such as pollinators. 2.We examined bee communities in 83 sites across three states in the southeastern USA—Alabama, Florida and Georgia. We compared bee abundance and diversity in 66 pine plantation sites that reflect management with and without potential bioenergy feedstock production. At least three bioenergy feedstock production methods have been proposed for this region: 1) converting conventional timber stands to short‐rotation bioenergy plantations; 2) harvesting feedstock by thinning conventional plantations; and 3) harvesting of woody debris residues after plantations have been clear‐cut. 3.We found that bioenergy‐associated management practices including younger plantations (relative to older) and woody debris removal (relative to debris unremoved) in clear‐cut plantations were associated with reduced bee diversity. Removing ground debris in clear‐cut plantations also drastically increased bee abundance, though this effect was largely driven by strong dominance of just two bee species. Clear‐cut plantations had lower beta diversity than standing plantations. 4.Synthesis and applications. Management practices associated with bioenergy feedstock production can have negative effects on bee community diversity. In particular, harvesting of debris in clear‐cut plantations dramatically reduces bee diversity. Large‐scale bioenergy feedstock production that increases the prevalence of young and clear‐cut stands may cause landscape‐level beta diversity to decline. Nevertheless, bioenergy pine plantations likely support higher bee diversity than corn fields, an alternative bioenergy feedstock.
... Although previous studies have documented wading bird presence in GIWs within Coastal Plain ecosystems (Smith et al. 2006;Means 2007), no studies that quantify bird density and identify drivers of habitat use in these wetlands currently exist. Similarly, no studies have examined the importance of disturbed GIWs for wading bird foraging habitat compared to their undisturbed counterparts in longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests. ...
Article
Geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) have been increasingly recognized for their importance in providing ecosystem services, including support of regional biodiversity. These wetlands serve as valuable foraging and breeding habitat for wetland-dependent species, including wading birds. In certain regions of the U.S. Southeastern Coastal Plain approximately two-thirds of GIWs are impacted by adjacent human land use. We quantified wading bird density in agricultural and natural GIWs to determine the factors influencing their use of these habitats. Using monthly transect surveys, we found that wetland-specific variables, including prey abundance and size, wetland surface area, and dry-down rate, were better predictors of wading bird density than landscape level variables such as wetland density and distance to breeding colony. Bird density was highest in agricultural wetlands early in the hydroperiod, but as GIWs dried down, density dropped in agricultural wetlands and rose in natural wetlands. Collectively, these results suggest that wading birds in the Coastal Plain rely on a matrix of both agricultural and natural wetlands, and their use of wetlands varies temporally, peaking in late spring, to maximize prey availability. The seasonal process of receding water levels in GIWs and subsequent concentration of aquatic fauna provides important food resources for nesting wading birds.
... Cotton rat predators in this region include mesocarnivores, raptors, and snakes 25 . Mesocarnivores include coyotes (Canis latrans), foxes (Vulpes vulpes and Urocyon cinereoargenteus), raccoons (Procyon lotor), Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana), nine-banded armadillos (Dasypus novemcinctus), striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), and bobcats (Lynx rufus), although opossums, armadillos, and skunks are unlikely to present much risk to cotton rats 26,[39][40][41][42] . The snake community in this region is diverse. ...
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Predator communities are changing worldwide: large carnivores are declining while mesocarnivores (medium-sized mammalian predators) are increasing in number and ecological influence. Predator choice of prey is not random and different predators select prey with different characteristics. Changes in predator communities can change predation patterns experienced by prey. Little is known about how mesocarnivore communities influence prey morphology. We used 14 years of mark-recapture data to investigate how mesocarnivore exclusion affected body mass of hispid cotton rats (Sigmodon hispidus). Finding adult male cotton rats were 9% heavier with mesocarnivore exclusion, we developed hypotheses to explain this observation. Greater adult male body mass in exclosures resulted from: (1) a non-significant trend of increased survival of large males, (2) faster juvenile male growth during the fall and a similar non-significant trend among adult males, and (3) spatial partitioning by size among males. Taxa-specific predation rates (i.e., rates of predation by snakes, raptors, or mesocarnivores) did not differ among male body mass classes. Mesocarnivores disproportionately preyed on large females while raptors targeted small females, but female body mass was not influenced by mesocarnivore exclusion. Changes in predator communities can result in multiple small effects that collectively result in large differences in prey morphology.
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Geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) comprise a significant portion of the wetlands in the U.S., connecting to surrounding landscapes in varying ways and providing diverse ecosystem functions. Understanding the consequences of wetland connections across space and time are crucial in understanding GIW function. We compared nutrient concentrations, litter breakdown, and associated macroinvertebrate communities from 2018 to 2019 in three wetlands connected by an intermittent flow path to agricultural fields, to three unconnected GIWs. Litter bags were constructed of two mesh sizes to reduce macroinvertebrate abundances. We observed increased breakdown with greater connection to agricultural fields, likely the result of increased nutrients such as phosphorus enhancing microbial activity. Enhanced breakdown in the connected wetlands was transient, varying between years and the degree of connection. While water quality measures did not consistently show increased nutrient levels across all connected wetlands, lower litter N:P within connected wetlands provided a broader look at nutrient subsidies. Macroinvertebrate abundance was greater in connected wetlands when connection occurred and shredder abundance was greater later during breakdown, however high variability obscured any pattern with breakdown rates. Comparing litter decomposition rates in our study to previous studies, we note that our connected wetlands functioned more similarly to flowing waters while the unconnected wetlands functioned like discrete wetlands. Future climate predictions indicate increased winter rainfall for this region which will increase the degree and frequency of hydrologic connection and associated nutrient transport. Understanding how the extent of connection alters wetland function is important in understanding the roles wetlands play in landscape ecosystem function.
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Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) forests are among the most fire-dependent forest types in the world and once dominated much of the southeastern United States. Loss and fragmentation of longleaf pine shrank its distribution to approximately 4% of its historic range; as a result, longleaf pine forests currently receive much conservation and restoration emphasis. In all cases, this emphasis includes prescribed fire. Prescribed fires promote herbaceous understories which maintains habitat for some small mammals, but fires can also result in temporary declines of small mammal populations. Therefore, short return intervals may not allow small mammal populations to recover between fires, and long return intervals may result in declining habitat quality and reduced small mammal abundance. During the first phase of our research, we studied the long-term influence of prescribed fire on small mammals. We annually estimated small mammal abundance and species richness during 2001 – 2014 in eight longleaf pine-dominated plots in southwestern Georgia, USA. Plots were either biennially burned (reference) or had fire excluded during the study. Small mammal species richness was similar in fire-excluded and reference sites. Overall small mammal abundance was greatest in reference plots. Five species were captured with sufficient frequency to justify species-specific analyses. Of these, three (hispid cotton rats, Sigmodon hispidus; oldfield mice, Peromyscus polionotis; and house mice, Mus musculus) were more abundant in reference plots. For the second phase of our research, we reintroduced fire in half of the fire excluded plots (burned during 2015, 2016, and 2017) and began sampling small mammals in three additional plots that were burned annually since 2003. We collected data during 2017 and 2018 for this phase of the research to evaluate small mammal response to four prescribed-fire return intervals (annual growing season burns since 2003, biennial burns since 2001 (reference), fire excluded since 2001, and fire excluded since 2001 and then burned during 2015, 2016, and 2017). Small mammal species richness was not affected by burn interval. Cotton rat abundance was greater in reference plots than in other treatments, whereas cotton mice (Peromyscus gossypinus) and oldfield mice were most abundant in the annually burned treatment. Three prescribed fires occurred in fire reintroduced plots prior to sampling, but these fires were insufficient to restore small mammal abundance to that of annually or biennially burned plots. Our work provides further evidence that fire is important for maintaining habitat for some small mammals and that time between fires has a species-specific effect on small mammal abundances. Thus, manipulating fire return interval is a promising tool for managing relative abundance of small mammals and likely other wildlife.
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Longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) savanna characterized by open‐canopy, diverse herbaceous vegetation, and high amounts of bare soil once covered much of the southeastern United States Coastal Plain. The unique structural and vegetative conditions of this ecosystem support endemic reptiles and amphibians that have declined as longleaf pine forests have been lost or degraded. Private working pine (Pinus spp.) forests managed for timber production now occur throughout the southeastern United States and have replaced much of the historical longleaf pine savanna. The examination of herpetofaunal (reptile, amphibian) communities in private working loblolly pine (P. taeda) landscapes, particularly in the western Gulf Coastal Plain is lacking. Using repeated field surveys and hierarchical community occupancy models, we examined occupancy and species richness of herpetofauna across 81 sites spanning gradients of management practices, vegetative conditions, and soil composition in northwestern Louisiana, USA, 2017–2019. Young pine stands (<6 yr) exhibited structural characteristics most similar to mature longleaf pine reference sites (>30 yr), while mid‐aged stands (13–26 yr) often featured closed canopy and dense midstory. Vegetation conditions varied widely depending on landscape characteristics and site‐specific disturbance regimes. We documented 43 species of herpetofauna, including 9 open‐pine‐associated species. Occupancy of open‐pine‐associated herpetofauna was positively associated with open‐canopy and understory conditions, and sandy soil area. Sites providing open‐canopy conditions were often occupied by open‐pine‐associated species regardless of overstory type and disturbance method. Overall richness of herpetofauna was greatest at sites with moderate canopy cover outside of sandy soil regions. Working pine landscapes in the western Gulf Coastal Plain can support diverse herpetofaunal assemblages, including open‐pine‐associated species, when management practices maintain open‐canopy conditions on sandy, upland soils. More broadly, our results provide insight into how forest management practices affect herpetofauna and may guide practices that can contribute to conservation value of working pine forests. This study highlights the potential and limitations of pine forests under varying management regimes and featuring different landscape characteristics to support a range of herpetofaunal species. This research will guide management decisions targeting herpetofaunal conservation on a regional and site‐specific basis by illustrating the influence of site‐specific structural conditions and larger‐scale landscape characteristics on an area's ability to support a variety of species.
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The longleaf pine Pinus palustris Miller (Pinales: Pinaceae) ecosystem once covered as many as 37 million hectares across the southeastern United States. Through fire suppression, development, and conversion to other plantation pines, this coverage has dwindled to fewer than 2 million hectares. A recent focus on the restoration of this ecosystem has revealed its complex and biologically diverse nature. Arthropods of the longleaf pine ecosystem are incredibly numerous and diverse—functionally and taxonomically. To provide clarity on what is known about the species and their functional roles in longleaf pine forests, we thoroughly searched the literature and found nearly 500 references. In the end, we tabulated 51 orders 477 families, 1,949 genera, and 3,032 arthropod species as having been stated in the scientific literature to occur in longleaf pine ecosystems. The body of research we drew from is rich and varied but far from comprehensive. Most work deals with land management objective associated taxa such as pests of pine, pests of—and food for—wildlife (red-cockaded woodpecker, northern bobwhite quail, gopher tortoise, pocket gopher, etc.), and pollinators of the diverse plant understory associated with longleaf pine. We explored the complex role frequent fire (critical in longleaf pine management) plays in determining the arthropod community in longleaf pine, including its importance to rare and threatened species. We examined known patterns of abundance and occurrence of key functional groups of longleaf pine-associated arthropods. Finally, we identified some critical gaps in knowledge and provide suggestions for future research into this incredibly diverse ecosystem.
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In the fire maintained longleaf pine (Pinus palustris) ecosystem, underground refugia such as gopher tortoise (Gopherus polyphemus) burrows and stump holes may be important for animals to escape fire and extreme temperatures. Despite being documented as refugia for several species of concern including the black pine snake (Pituophis melanoleucus lodingi) and eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus), longleaf pine stumps are commonly removed and harvested for rosin, eliminating associated underground habitats. We used trail cameras to examine the use of stump holes by vertebrates from September 2018 – May 2019. Each of 35 stump holes was paired with a nearby gopher tortoise burrow, a documented high value refugium type, to serve as a reference. We used Shannon Diversity Index to investigate species diversity differences and non-metric multidimensional scaling to investigate species composition differences between stump holes and tortoise burrows. We developed multi-season occupancy models to investigate reptile, amphibian, bird, and small mammal occupancy differences between tortoise burrows and stump holes. We documented 13 taxa unique to stump holes, 14 taxa unique to tortoise burrows, and 26 shared taxa. Although overall species diversity was similar between tortoise burrows and stump holes, species composition differed, with more reptile species associated with stump holes and more bird species associated with gopher tortoise burrows. Reptile, amphibian, bird, and small mammal occupancy was similar between stump holes and tortoise burrows and among stumps of varying decay states. Our research underscores the collective importance of tortoise burrows and stump holes as refugia and foraging sites for wildlife in the longleaf pine ecosystem. Additionally, our study demonstrates the importance of developing best management practices for stump removal such as retaining a proportion of stumps of different decay classes.
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The vascular flora of the Jones Ecological Research Center (Ichauway), a remnant longleaf pine/ wiregrass ecosystem located in the Coastal Plain of Georgia, was inventoried. High species richness and large numbers of rare and endemic plants are associated with the open, fire-maintained longleaf pine forests and associated depressional wetlands and riparian hardwood forests. The study identified 1,013 taxa in 466 genera and 134 families. The total includes 392 species that are the first record of occurrence for Baker County, Georgia. The Georgia Natural Heritage Program lists 25 of these species as endangered, rare, or of special concern in the state of Georgia, two of which, Lindera melissaefolium and Schwalbea americana, are listed as federally endangered. Ninety-three (9%) of the taxa are introduced.
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Hardwood depressions in the southeastern United States have been extensively altered due to agriculture and other land management prac-tices. They are small isolated wetlands dominated by oaks that typically become flooded every couple years for a few weeks to several months. We sampled the aquatic invertebrate assemblages of six depressions in 1998 and five depres-sions in 2001 and found they were composed primarily of clam shrimp, cla-docerans, calanoid copepods, and chironomids. The primary functional feeding group was collector-filterers, which comprised >60% of the total numbers. Eubranchiopoda were well represented by two species of clam shrimp (Lynceus gracilicornis and Limnadia lenticularis) and one species of fairy shrimp (Streptocephalus seali). L. lenticularis is the first record of this species in Georgia. Consideration should be made for the conservation of hardwood de-pressions because of the rare invertebrates they accommodate.
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Old-growth savannas and forests dominated by longleaf pine (Pinus palustris Mill.) are of great conservation and research interest. Comprehensive inventories of old-growth communities, however, are lacking for most of longleaf pine's natural range. We searched the literature, interviewed regional experts, queried email discussion lists and newsletters, and made on-site inspections to compile a revised list of old-growth longleaf pine stands, their acreage and status. We found 15 old-growth longleaf pine stands covering 5095 ha in only four of the nine states in the natural range of longleaf pine. Our area estimate represents 0.004% of extant acreage and 0.00014% of the presettlement extent. Further, some community types (e.g., Piedmont, West Gulf Coastal Plain provinces) have no extant old-growth longleaf pine reference sites. Old-growth stand ownerships are diverse, with large tracts (> 400 ha) in both public and private ownerships. Half of the remnants face serious management threats, most due to difficulty in managing fire in the contemporary southeastern landscape and tenuous land tenure. In light of the shrinking nature of this resource, statewide searches, restoration, and conservation should continue in earnest.
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Longleaf pine (Pinus palustrisMill.) ecosystems once occupied over 36 million hectares in the southeastern United States' lower coastal plain. These fire-dependent ecosystems dominated a wide range of coastal plain sites, including dry uplands and low, wet flatlands. Today, less than 1.3 million hectares remain, but these ecosystems represent significant components of the Region's cultural heritage, ecological diversity, timber resources, and present essential habitat for many animal and plant communities. Fire was an essential component of the original longleaf pine ecosystems. The landscapes were characterized by open stands of mature longleaf pine with a savanna-like understory that were biologically diverse. Recent improvements in the technology to artificially regenerate longleaf pine has stimulated interest in restoring longleaf pine on many sites. Long-term studies show that the frequent use of fire hastens initiation of height growth, reduces undesirable competing vegetation, and stimulates growth and development of the rich understory. So, fire is an important element in establishing the species and is critical to achieve and maintain the biologically diverse understory that is characteristic of the ecosystem.
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A longleaf pine wiregrass ecosystem in the sandhills of north central Florida, upon which turkey oak gained dominance following a wildfire, was treated with applications of hexazinone (1.1 or 2.2kg/ha) in May 1991. All applications successfully reduced competition from oaks in the overstory and understory (mortality >80%), resulting in progressive increases in the foliar cover of wiregrass, all graminoids and forbs through time. Broadcast application caused a decline in forb cover and species richness during the initial growing season, which recovered by the following year. The 2.2kg/ha spot application resulted in an increase in species richness, while evenness declined with the continuing expansion of wiregrass. The entire site was then burned in June 1995 by prescribed fire, which caused a widespread decrease in the cover of oaks, shrubs, wiregrass, all graminoids and forbs and plant species richness. In the following year, forb cover increased and oak cover remained significantly lower on plots treated with the combination of hexazinone plus fire than on fire-only plots. The overall cover of forbs, graminoids, shrubs and longleaf pines continued to increase through time. Broadcast application initially exposed a greater number of understory plants to direct contact with herbicide, posing a higher mortality risk than may be acceptable in restoration efforts. Although recovery occurred in subsequent years, the lower selectivity of broadcast application makes it a less suitable restoration technique. Spot application of hexazinone was more selective in its effects upon the plant community. The 2.2kg/ha spot application produced increases in the cover of wiregrass, all graminoids and forbs and the highest levels of species richness and diversity. The 2.2kg/ha application rate was also most effective in controlling woody plant competition and is therefore recommended for restoring longleaf pine wiregrass ecosystems in sandhills and similar environments. Hexazinone application followed by prescribed fire accelerates the rate of ecosystem restoration over that achievable by using fire alone. The ecological benefits of controlling competition and rebalancing floristic composition rapidly achieved through this combination of treatments would likely require many cycles of prescribed fire, if used as an individual treatment, over a period of several decades.
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We describe a commercially-available funnel trap for sampling aquatic vertebrates. The traps can be used in heavily vegetated wetlands and can be set in water up to 60 cm deep without concern for drowning the animals. They were especially useful for capturing the aquatic salamanders Siren lacertina and Amphiuma means, which have been difficult to capture with traditional sampling methods. They also were effective for sampling small fishes, particularly centrarchids, and larval anurans. In total, 14 species of amphibians, nine species of aquatic reptiles, and at least 32 fish species were captured. The trap we describe differs significantly from traditional funnel traps (e.g., minnow traps) and holds great promise for studies of small, aquatic vertebrates, in particular Siren and Amphiuma species.
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Longleaf pine (Pims puhrstrk Mill.) ecosystems once occupied over 36 million hectares in the southeastern United States' lower coastal plain. These fire-dependent ecosystems dominated a wide range of coastal plain sites, including dry uplands and low, wet flatlands. Today, less than 1.3 million hectares remain, but these ecosystems repre- sent significant components of the Region's cultural heritage, ecological diversity, timber resources, and present essential habitat for many animal and plant communities. Fire was an essential component of the original longleaf pine ecosystems. The landscapes were characterized by open stands of mature iongleaf pine with a savanna-like understory that were biologically diverse. Recent improvements in the technology to artificial- ly regenerate longleaf pine has stimulated interest in restoring longleaf pine on many sites. Long-term studies show that the frequent use of fire hastens initiation of height growth, reduces undesirable competing vege- tation, and stimulates growth and development of the rich undcrstory. So, fire is an important element in establishing the species and is critical to achieve and maintain the biologically diverse understory that is charac- teristic of the ecosystem. (Article copies available for a feefiorn The Haworth Document Delivery Service: l-800-342-9678. E-mail address: getitlfo@ haworthpressittc.com c Website: http:llwww.ha wortllpressitlc.conl>)