Space use by two arboreal rodent species in a Neotropical cloud forest
Periodo de realización: 2018/06/01 al 2018/01/01
Tipo: Artículo científico
Lugar(es) de estudio: Taxco, Guerrero, Mexico
Resumen: "Studying animal space use patterns can help increase our understating of ecological processes such as competition and community dynamics.
To quantify space and habitat use in an isolated and patchy cloud forest community in Mexico, we evaluate the vertical stratification, home range and habitat selection of two arboreal rodents: Habromys schmidlyi and Reithrodontomys microdon. Using live-traps at ground level and different forest strata, we radio-equipped nine individuals of H. schmidlyi and seven of R. microdon, and evaluated fine-scale space use and broad-scale habitat selection between cloud forest and oak forest. We found an average home range of 0.24 ha for R. microdon males and 0.72 ha for females, with a preference for higher canopy in the cloud forest. For H. schmidlyi the home range was 0.83 ha for males and 0.29 ha for females, with a preference for the understory level in the cloud forest. Home range is three-dimensional for these rodents, so we estimate that on average, individuals of both species used eight trees in the time they were tracked. We characterised the vegetation at the trap sites, and used recursive partitioning to relate the presence of different plants with the probability of finding these two species and Peromyscus aztecus, a third rodent species also present in the area and considered in our analysis of habitat use. The highest probability of finding R. microdon (96%) was related to the presence of Brachythecium occidentale and Renauldia mexicana, while H. schmidlyi (95%) was found in close proximity to Fabronia ciliaris and Everniastrum. We highlight the importance of arboreal trapping in biodiversity assessments, and the role of arboreal rodents in maintaining
tropical forest ecosystems. We suggest that these rodent species could avoid or reduce competition by using the vertical strata differentially,
and that H. schmidlyi and R. microdon can be biological indicators for cloud forest management and conservation. "