Species Composition, Distribution, Abundance and Habitat Association of Rodents in Forest and Farmlands Around tepi, Southwest Ethiopia

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Addis Ababa University


A comparative study on species composition, distribution and habitat association of rodents in forest and farmlands was carried out around Tepi, from August, 2009 to March, 2010. Five different types of habitats were randomly selected comprising natural forest, bushland, sugarcane plantation, coffee plantation and maize-sorghum farmland. In each habitat type, a representative trapping grid was randomly selected for live-trapping. In addition, rodents were trapped from each habitat by snap-trapping. The following nine species of small mammals were trapped from the area: Stenocephalemys albipes (37.38%), Mastomys natalensis (20.56%), Arvicanthis dembeensis (11.99%), Lophuromys flavopunctatus (9.34%), Lemniscomys striatus (8.43), Mus musculus (6.59%), Mastomys erythroleucus (4.36%), Crocidura fumosa (0.93%) and Crocidura niobe (0.31%). The distribution of rodent species varied from habitat to habitat. S. albipes, M. natalensis and A. dembeensis were widely distributed in all habitat types. L. flavopunctatus was the least distributed rodent species. There was statistically significant variation in the abundance of rodents among the different habitat types and between seasons. There was significant variation in trap success among different habitat types. All age groups from all species were represented. Breeding of rodents was seasonal during the study period. There was high population of rodents in the first trapping session of wet season and least in the second trapping session of dry season. The population density of rodents was high in the bushland and least in the coffee plantation. The highest population density (422/ha) was contributed by S. albipes, followed by M. natalensis (216/ha). The biomass of rodents in the present study area varied among the habitats and trapping sessions. The stomach content of rodents was mostly plant matters and few animal matters. The three rodent species (M. natalensis, A. dembeensis and M. musculus) were identified as pests of maize. S. albipes, M. natalensis and A. dembeenis were identified as pests of sugarcane plantation. Vegetation cover, rainfall and human interference were the major factors affecting the abundance and distribution of rodents in the study area. Key words: Pest management, species diversity, rodent.



Pest management, species diversity, rodent.