Date of Award


Degree Name



College of Science

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Thomas K. Pauley

Second Advisor

Jeffery D. May

Third Advisor

Leonard J. Deutsch


A survey of the soricid (shrew) fauna of southern West Virginia was conducted between May 16, 1994 and May 27, 1995. Twenty-five sites were established in Mercer and Summers counties within seven habitat types. Pitfall traps were used and through a limitation of fluid depth within the trap the selectivity for soricids was increased to over 83% of the total capture. Overall, a total of 653 shrews comprising seven species (Sorex cinereus, S. /ongirostris, S. fumeus, S. dispar, S. hoyi, 8/arina brevicauda, and Cryptotis parva) was captured. Two of the species taken (S. hoyi and S. dispar) are new county records for Mercer County. Another species taken (C. parva) had not been captured in West Virginia since 1969. Principal component and canonical discriminant analyses were conducted on a series of environmental data taken at each trap in order to assess the influences of environmental features on the distribution of shrews. Habitat preference for each species was determined and population analyses of temporal activity patterns, age class structure, sex ratios, and breeding season were performed. Soricid community analyses conducted included diversity and similarity indices comparisons of habitat type. Peaks in soricid activity were seen during the year and were highly correlated with precipitation levels. A shift from epigeal to hypogeal activity was also seen in all species. Soil moisture was found to be the most important influence in the microhabitat selection by shrews. Population structure and reproductive analyses indicate that in southern West Virginia shrews are annual in nature, being born in early summer, over-wintering as juveniles, breeding in early spring, and then dying by mid-summer.


Shrews - Ecology - West Virginia.