Certain Aspects of Ecology of Rodents in Pawe Area, Northwest of Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


An ecological study dealing with species composition, distribution, relative abundance population density, biomass and habitat association of rodents was carried out in Pawe area around Almu in Ethiopia during August, 2008 − March, 2009 in natural forest, plantation, bushland, grassland and maize farm habitats. In each of the habitat types, grids were randomly selected for live-trapping and snap-trapping. Live-traps and snaptraps were set for three days twice during the wet and dry seasons. A total of 643 individuals comprising 10 species of rodents and two species of insectivores were captured. The rodents trapped were Mastomys natalensis (37.9%), Arvicanthis dembeensis (28.8%), Stenocephalemys albipes (9.2%), Mastomys erythroleucus (7.5%), Arvicanthis niloticus (4.5%), Acomys cahirinus (3.6%), Tatera robusta (2.6%), Lemniscomys striatus (1.7%), Mus musculus (0.9%) and Rattus rattus (0.3%). The two species of insectivores trapped were Crocidura flavescens (2.2%) and Crocidura fumosa (0.8%). In addition to this, Tachyorctes spledens, Hystrix cristata, Heliosciurus gambianus and Euxerus erythropus were observed in the study area. The population density ranged from 50/ha in the plantation to 311/ha in the bushland. M. natalensis was the most abundant and widely distributed species and R. rattus the least with limited in distribution in the present study area. The majority of the rodents and insectivores were associated with the bushland habitat. More number of rodents was trapped during the wet season than during the dry season. There was also significant variation in trap success among different habitat types. High cumulative average trap success of 26.2% was recorded in the bushland, whereas the lowest trap success of 4.2% was recorded in the plantation. Individuals of all age categories were present during the present study in all trapping sessions. Abundance of rodents was reduced during the dry season as a result of fire. The level of maize crop damage by rodents was 14.2 %. M. natalensis, A. dembeensis, M. erythroleucus and T. robusta were recorded as pests of maize crop in the study area. Key words/ phrases: Abundance, distribution, habitat association, Pawe, population density, rodents, species composition.



Abundance, distribution, habitat association, Pawe, populationdensity, rodents, species composition