Diversity, relative abundance and habitat association of rodents in Aquatimo forest patches and adjacent farmland, East Gojjam, Ethiopia
Species diversity, relative abundance and habitat association of rodents in Aquatimo forest patches and its adjacent farmlands were studied using Sherman live traps and snap traps. Four habitat types such as forest, bushland, grassland and farmland were considered for the present study. A total of 49 Sherman traps and 25 snap traps were used for the study, and 316 individuals were captured by live traps in 2352 trap nights, and 58 individuals by snap traps in 1200 trap nights. Eight species of rodents and two species of insectivores were recorded during the study period. The relative abundance of rodent species identified were 132(41.8%) Arvicanthis abyssinicus, 49(15.5%) Stenocephalemys albipes, 46(14.6%) Mus musculus, 39(12.3%) Mastomys natalensis, 20(6.3%) Lophuromys flavopunctatus, 13(4.1%) Grammomys dolichurus, 7(2.2%) Rattus rattus, and 5(1.9%) Dendromus lovati. The insectivore species were 3(0.9%) Crocidura flavescens and 2(0.5%) Crocidura fumosa. The maize farm was found to be the habitat where species richness and relative abundance were the highest. Trap success in the grassland habitat differs significantly between the wet and dry seasons (χ2=29.6, p<0.05). The distribution of rodent species varied based on habitats. This study about the ecology and biology of rodents is fundamental for proper monitoring of the environment in order to control and conserve small mammals.
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