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Demography of the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) in the succulent karoo.


Schradin, C; Pillay, N (2005). Demography of the striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) in the succulent karoo. Mammalian Biology - Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde, 70(2):84-92.

Abstract

The striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) is widely distributed in southern Africa, inhabiting a wide range of habitats. We describe the demography of the striped mouse in the arid succulent karoo of South Africa, and compare our findings with those of published results for the same species from the moist grasslands of South Africa. In both habitats, breeding starts in spring, but the breeding season in the succulent karoo is only half as long as in the grasslands, which can be explained by different patterns and levels of rainfall; the succulent karoo receives mainly winter rain and rainfall is much less (about 160 mm year−1) than in the grasslands (>1000 mm year−1) which experience summer rain. Population density increased from 37 (start of breeding season) to 171 (end of breeding season) mice per hectare. A high yearly survival rate of 27% during our study from summer to the next breeding season resulted in a population density that was 10 times higher in the succulent karoo than in grasslands. The comparatively high population density may result in habitat saturation and thus forced philopatry, promoting group living in the succulent karoo, which contrasts with the solitary life-style exhibited by populations in moist grasslands.

The striped mouse (Rhabdomys pumilio) is widely distributed in southern Africa, inhabiting a wide range of habitats. We describe the demography of the striped mouse in the arid succulent karoo of South Africa, and compare our findings with those of published results for the same species from the moist grasslands of South Africa. In both habitats, breeding starts in spring, but the breeding season in the succulent karoo is only half as long as in the grasslands, which can be explained by different patterns and levels of rainfall; the succulent karoo receives mainly winter rain and rainfall is much less (about 160 mm year−1) than in the grasslands (>1000 mm year−1) which experience summer rain. Population density increased from 37 (start of breeding season) to 171 (end of breeding season) mice per hectare. A high yearly survival rate of 27% during our study from summer to the next breeding season resulted in a population density that was 10 times higher in the succulent karoo than in grasslands. The comparatively high population density may result in habitat saturation and thus forced philopatry, promoting group living in the succulent karoo, which contrasts with the solitary life-style exhibited by populations in moist grasslands.

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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:Elsevier
ISSN:1616-5047
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.mambio.2004.06.004
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-570

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