The following is a list of the vertebrate animals identified in Myakka River State Park. Annotations indicate the habitat, season of occurrence and abundance of the species when available.
Symbols indicating abundance:
Information on fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals is from collections and observations made by Guy Van Duyn in 1941, the live trappings of small mammals by Ranger Donald Sessions in 1975 and irregular observations from 1970 to 1983. Records of fishes have been made by biologists of the Florida Game and Fresh Water Fish Commission.
Information on birds is primarily from two sources. The first source is a compilation of records made by Oscar Baynard from 1910 to 1942. The second is the recent records kept by Mr. And Mrs. Orrin Letson (including Audubon Christmas Bird Counts) from 1959 to 1975 and Christmas Bird Count information from 1947 to 1983. The 1984 revision reflects many helpful suggestions from Don Mace of the Sarasota Audubon Society.
Dr. James N. Layne of Archbold Biological Station reviewed the entire list and made many helpful suggestions.
Nomenclature and taxonomic sequence of the various classes of vertebrates are based on those in:
A LIST OF COMMON AND SCIENTIFIC NAMES OF FISHES FROM THE UNITED STATES AND CANADA (Third Edition).
A FIELD GUIDE TO REPTILES ANDAMPHIBIANS OF EASTERN AND CENTRAL NORTH AMERICA (Second Edition). Roger Conant, Houghton Mifflin Company, Boston. 1975.
THE AMERICAN ORNITHOLOGICAL UNION CHECKLIST OF NORTH AMERICAN BIRDS (Sixth Edition). 1973
CHECKLIST OF NORTH AMERICAN MAMMALS NORTH OF MEXICO. Jones, Carter and Genoways. Occasional Papers, The Museum, Texas Tech University, No. 12, Feb. 2, 1973.
The terms of relative abundance for fishes, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals are based on those used by Guy Van Duyn except in cases where the status is known to have changed. Information on the abundance of the birds was provided by Mr. Orrin Letson and supplemented by recent field notes.
THE HABITATS OF MOST OF MYAKKA’S VEREBRATE ANIMALS CAN BE CLASSIFIED ACCORDING TO SEVERAL DISTINCT NATURAL COMMUNITIES:
Lakes, River and Creeks
The Myakka River, the two lakes it flows through, and the small creeks that feed it form one community.
The lake sometimes recedes in the winter months, leaving some of the bottom exposed between the water’s edge and the hammock. This creates a habitat for various kinds of shorebirds, those that feed both by picking and probing.
These are areas where the vegetation is composed of grasses, sedges and herbaceous plants that are flooded during the rainy season. Some of the marshes along the river are extensive, but there are also hundreds of small, seasonally flooded grassy ponds scattered throughout the park that are also referred to here as marshes.
These are forests of oak and palm trees that occur throughout the park, either as isolated islands of trees or as elongated strips that border the river, lakes and creeks.
These are nearly level plains of short grasses, herbs and the saw palmetto, a shrubby palm. The trees are scattered slash pines and longleaf pines.
These are similar to the pine flatwoods, but without the pine trees
In the eastern and northeastern parts of the park there are places where the land reaches relatively high elevation. A few scrub oaks grow here where the drainage is good, and some species of burrowing animals may be found.
This is a transitional zone of heavy undergrowth where pine flatwoods are succeeding into hammock, or anywhere there is a thick growth of shrubs and small trees.