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Differences in diet between two rodent species, Mastomys natalensis and Gerbilliscus vicinus, in fallow land habitats in central Tanzania

Differences in diet between two rodent species, Mastomys natalensis and Gerbilliscus vicinus, in fallow land habitats in central Tanzania

Mulungu, Loth S., Massawe, Apia W., Kennis, Jan, Crauwels, Dieter, Eiseb, Seth, Mahlaba, Themb'alilahlwa A., Mondadjem, Ara, Makundi, Rhodes H., Katakweba, Abdul A.S., Leirs, Herwig and Belmain, Steven R. (2011) Differences in diet between two rodent species, Mastomys natalensis and Gerbilliscus vicinus, in fallow land habitats in central Tanzania. African Zoology, 46 (2). pp. 387-392. ISSN 1562-7020 (Print), 2224-073X (Online)

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Abstract

Differences in the ecological niche requirements among rodent species competing in the same habitat may result from differences in the use of one to three resources: space, time and food or some combination of these. Alternatively, differences in resource use utilization among animal species may simply reflect availability of food, and when food is limited, different animal
species compete. In this study, the diet of two rodent pest species, Mastomys natalensis and Gerbilliscus vicinus, coexisting in fallow land in central Tanzania were studied to assess the degree of diet differentiation among them. Dietary niche breadth of G. vicinus was greater than
that of M. natalensis in all stages of the maize cropping seasons. The rodent species studied overlapped considerably in the food items consumed ranging from niche overlap (Ojk) of 0.77–0.89. Grains/seeds featured high in the diet of M. natalensis while plant material occurrence was high in G. vicinus. These two food categories may have contributed to differences in diet partitioning, which may, in turn, facilitate their coexistence in fallow land.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: diet, fallow land, Gerbilliscus vicinus, M. natalensis, niche, resources
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > S Agriculture (General)
Faculty / Department / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Pest Behaviour Research Group
Related URLs:
Last Modified: 01 May 2016 17:01
Selected for GREAT 2016: None
Selected for GREAT 2017: None
Selected for GREAT 2018: None
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/7012

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