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Archive for Sunday, April 11, 1999

MORE ANIMALS MAKE THEMSELVES AT HOME IN KANSAS

April 11, 1999

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Kansas has more animal species than it did eight years ago, reports the co-author of a newly revised handbook on Kansas animal species available free from the Kansas Biological Survey.

"A Checklist of the Vertebrate Animals of Kansas," by George Potts, Joe Collins and Kate Shaw, can be picked up at the survey's office in Foley Hall on the Kansas University West Campus. It also is available to those who send a self-addressed envelope with $1.32 postage to KBS, 2041 Constant Ave., Lawrence 66047.

"This new edition records 784 species," Collins said. "That's 38 new kinds of vertebrate animals that have been added to our state fauna in eight years."

Among the new additions is the cottonmouth, or water moccasin, a venomous snake more common in the southern United States but confirmed in Cherokee County, which is in the state's extreme southeast corner.

Other new animals include various types of bait or game fish such as the white bullhead catfish.

"We also have new little fish called the inland silverside," Collins said. "It probably got introduced (from the eastern United States) as a bait fish into various rivers and streams."

The 50-page handbook includes a complete list of known turtles, reptiles, birds, fish, mammals and amphibians in the state, with designations for those that are endangered or extinct in Kansas.

"It's the baseline that everyone is going to use to compare all the wildlife in Kansas," Collins said. "At least those animals that can run around and have a backbone.

What is causing the most excitement about the list is the table of contents, because we have rearranged the way animal diversity is classified not only in Kansas but worldwide."

For the first time, Collins said, turtles are classified apart from reptiles and amphibians in their own category.

-- Mike Shields' phone message number is 832-7144. His e-mail address is mshields@ljworld.com.

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