Annotated List of the Mammals of Nova Scotia
Scott, Fred W.
Hebda, Andrew J.
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The latest taxonomic, distributional, habitat and conservation status information is presented for a total of 91 species of marine and terrestrial mammals presently or historically known from Nova Scotia. Four of them are extirpated and one is extinct. Of the 86 remaining species 51 are terrestrial (46 native, 5 introduced). The terrestrial mammals include 9 species of Insectivora, 6 (+ one tentative) of Chiroptera, one Primate, 12 Carnivora, 1 Perrissodactyla, 3 Artiodactyla, 19 Rodentia and 1 Lagomorpha. Native species include Boreal, Transition Zone and Austral elements, the result of Nova Scotia’s mid-latitude position on the continental coast. The 32 recorded marine species include 6 Carnivora (5 seals, walrus) and 26 Cetacea: Delphinidae (10 species), Phocoenidae (1), Monodontidae (1), Kogiidae (2), Physeteridae (1), Ziphiidae (4), Eschrichtiidae (1, extirpated), Balaenopteridae (5) and Balaenidae (1). Since 1971 four small mammal species (Sorex gaspensis, S. dispar, Glaucomys volans and Microtus chrotorrhinus) have been added to the provincial fauna, as a result of the first systematic and intensive sampling ever done in Nova Scotia. All are disjunct and three of them are restricted to forested talus habitats in the Cobequid Mts. or the Cape Breton Highlands. With the two disjunct species already known (Sorex arcticus maritimensis and Peromyscus leucopus caudatus), there are 6 disjunct mammals in the province, comprising 14.3 % of native non-volant terrestrial mammals, 33 % of insectivores and 18.8 % of native rodents. Two of them (Sorex gaspensis and Microtus chrotorrhinus) occur only on Cape Breton Island. No other area of similar size north of Mexico has a comparable proportion of disjunct mammals. Cape Breton Island historically has had a depauperate mammal fauna, lacking 8 species that were present on the adjacent mainland. The building of the connecting Canso Causeway in 1953-55 had a major zoogeographic impact, as it caused the western third of the strait to freeze over in winter and allowed the invasion and establishment of four large mammal species (Canis latrans, Procyon lotor, Mephitis mephitis and Lynx rufus).