Tuesday, June 19, 2007 - 9:00 AM
Douglas Firs (Boise Centre on the Grove)

Morphological Characteristics of Western US Mammals As Visualized by Light Microscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy

Britten D. Sessions, Wilford Hess, and Wesley Skidmore. Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Surface scale patterns of hair from twenty-one selected species of mammals from Western United States were studied using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Selected samples from seven orders were studied. The orders represented are Artiodactyla, Carnivora, Chiroptera, Didelphimorphia, Insectivora, Lagomorpha, and Rodentia. Hair width, scale length and height, scale patterns and scale position in relation to the longitudinal direction of hair were used to characterize differences in hair morphology in the respective orders and between species within orders. A dichotomous key was included to help characterize the species studied. Hair morphology results indicate that a more complete atlas which included most or all of the mammals in an area, could provide a means to characterize the differences in both guard hair and underfur of mammalian species and could provide a more complete source of information which would be useful for forensics, taxonomy and archaeology, particularly if hair cross section characteristics were included.