Key to the Mammals of Oklahoma

This key, distribution maps, and information on habitats and habits are based on the book “Mammals of Oklahoma” by W. Caire, J. D. Tyler, B. P. Glass, and M. A. Mares that was published by the University of Oklahoma Press in 1989. The taxonomy has been updated following “Mammal Species of the World” by D. E. Wilson and D. M. Reeder published by the Smithsonian Institution Press. The distributions were updated based on information published after 1989. We thank the University of Oklahoma Press for allowing us to make the information available through the Oklahoma Museum of Natural History web site. All modifications and updates to the original work and final preparation for publication on the web were done by J. K. Braun. K. Grau, R. Nye, and J. Stafira helped in the preparation of materials.

This key is based on a combination of external and cranial characters of adult individuals. The key is constructed so that contrasting traits are presented in a grouped pair of statements. Each statement of the pair must be read carefully, and it must be determined which pair of statements better describes the specimen in question. The chosen statement will then lead either to the next pair of statements or to the final identification. Each pair of statements usually contains both cranial and external character traits, and all such traits should be examined for a positive identification.

All identification keys are limited somewhat by the amount of morphological variation that exists in natural populations. The characters selected for this key and the range of variations used should be reliable for the recognition of most of the mammals of Oklahoma. Some species of suspected but unverified occurrence are included in the key.

Maps show the distribution of each species in the state of Oklahoma. Counties in which a species has reported are highlighted in blue.

Dental formulas are an easy way to indicate the number of each type of tooth for a species. The types of teeth are incisors, canines, premolars, and molars. The number of teeth of each type for each half of the upper jaw (maxilla) is given separate from that of each half of the lower jaw (mandible). For example, incisors 5/4 indicates that five incisors are present in each half of the maxilla and four incisors are present in each half of the mandible.

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