The presence of Synaptomys cooperi in southeastern New Mexico in view of its absence elsewhere in the regional fossil record is a surprise. This arvicoline currently inhabits the northeastern fourth or so of the U.S., approaching the northeastern corner of New Mexico in southwestern Kansas. Presumably the Dark Canyon Cave record, based on several mandibles, reflects movement down the Pecos River or, alternatively, invasion from the east during a time when the animal extended farther south in the Southern Plains. According to Sealander (1979:183), it primarily inhabits "wet meadows, bogs, various types of grassland, weedy fields and marshes. He goes on to say, "The chief requirement of this species seems to be the presence of green, succulent sedges and grasses which are its main source of food." Thus one can easily picture these bog lemmings inhabiting vegetation around oxbows and the like of the nearby Pecos River.
Sites. Mid/Late Wisconsin: Dark Canyon Cave (Tebedge 1988).
Literature. Sealander 1979; Tebedge 1988.
Last Update: 28 Nov 2008