Northern (Glaucomys sabrinus) and southern (G. volans) flying squirrels occur in Maine, but there is uncertainty about range overlap in southcentral Maine where the southern flying squirrel reaches its geographic range limit. We surveyed flying squirrels on Mount Desert Island (MDI), located along the central Maine coast, to update the current status and distribution of these species. We captured only northern flying squirrels, and populations (> 2 individuals) were located in two conifer stands and one mixed conifer-hardwood stand. All three stands were located in relatively older forests, outside a large area burned in a 1947 fire. Tree diameters were similar between trap stations with and without captures, under-story density was low overall, and there was a trend of higher seedling density at capture locations. Low understory density may allow squirrels more effective gliding movements between trees, which may enhance predator avoidance. Although the southern flying squirrel was reported from MDI numerous times during the 20th century, no voucher specimens exist, and species identification and localities have been poorly documented. Future surveys on MDI should consider collection of voucher specimens to validate subsequent survey efforts and effectively document changes in local biodiversity.
Additional publication details
Status and habitat relationships of northern flying squirrels on Mount Desert Island, Maine