San Diego Natural History Museum--Your Nature ConnectionHistory of the Museum

Trip to Trinidad Whaling Station, July-August 1926

Back to the Rodents
July 23

My traps held nice bunch of shrews but Bray capped the climax by catching a Phenacomys albipes, a very rare macrotis. The animal was taken underneath the roots of an underhanging tree in the creek bed & is the 10th specimen in the collections of the world.

I rebaited my traps & set out three mole sets.

Phenacomys albipes, the white-footed vole, has been reassigned to the genus Arborimus. By "macrotis" Huey probably meant Microtus, another genus of voles, including the one common in San Diego, and was using the word to mean a vole in a more general sense. The white-footed vole is considered a "species of special concern" by the California Department of Fish and Game—an informal designation for species believed to be in decline. According to the California Department of Fish and Game, nearly all known localities where the white-footed vole has been captured have been associated with small streams in humid coastal forest, so the species may be sensitive to logging and other alterations of riparian habitats. Its status and habits are still poorly known. Howell donated one of these specimens to the California Museum of Vertebrate Zoology; director Joseph Grinnell was impressed and grateful: “the one you are presenting is the first to come into the possession of the University of California”. The San Diego Natural History Museum also retained two of the specimens from this trip. Today specimen collecting by the museum requires permits from the California Department of Fish and Game and other relevant agencies.


arborimus photo
arborimus photo
Arborimus Photo Credit