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Nest-site competition in two diurnal rodents from the succulent Karoo of Southafrica.


Schradin, C (2005). Nest-site competition in two diurnal rodents from the succulent Karoo of Southafrica. Journal of Mammalogy, 86(4):757-762.

Abstract

Species that occupy the same area and use the same resources must either compete with each other or find ways to minimize competition. For rodents, 1 important resource is nesting sites. In this study I present data from direct behavioral observations in the succulent karoo of South Africa that show aggressive interactions between bush karoo rats (Otomys unisulcatus) and striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio). Because both species nest in shrubs, the potential exists for interspecific competition for nesting sites. Because of a severe drought in 2003, the bush
karoo rat became locally extirpated. As a result, striped mice nested significantly more often in shrubs that contained bush karoo rat nests than in 2001 and 2002, when the population density of bush karoo rats was high. Furthermore, I observed that striped mice never nested in the shrub Lycium cinerum, the favorite nesting site of bush karoo rats, when bush karoo rats were present, but regularly used these nesting sites after bush karoo rats became extirpated. I conclude that striped mice and bush karoo rats compete actively for access to preferred nesting sites in the succulent karoo.

Abstract

Species that occupy the same area and use the same resources must either compete with each other or find ways to minimize competition. For rodents, 1 important resource is nesting sites. In this study I present data from direct behavioral observations in the succulent karoo of South Africa that show aggressive interactions between bush karoo rats (Otomys unisulcatus) and striped mice (Rhabdomys pumilio). Because both species nest in shrubs, the potential exists for interspecific competition for nesting sites. Because of a severe drought in 2003, the bush
karoo rat became locally extirpated. As a result, striped mice nested significantly more often in shrubs that contained bush karoo rat nests than in 2001 and 2002, when the population density of bush karoo rats was high. Furthermore, I observed that striped mice never nested in the shrub Lycium cinerum, the favorite nesting site of bush karoo rats, when bush karoo rats were present, but regularly used these nesting sites after bush karoo rats became extirpated. I conclude that striped mice and bush karoo rats compete actively for access to preferred nesting sites in the succulent karoo.

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17 citations in Web of Science®
17 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:16
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:American Society of Mammalogists
ISSN:0022-2372
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1644/1545-1542(2005)086[0757:NCITDR]2.0.CO;2

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