oa African Zoology - Small mammals and habitat structure along altitudinal gradients in the southern Cape mountains

Volume 15, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



Small mammals were sampled along altitudinal gradients in two mountain localities, the Swartberg and Baviaanskloof, in the southern Cape in summer 1977 - 1978. Species composition varied according to altitude and aspect with a total catch of six rodent and two shrew species. Correlations were found between abundance of rodent species and habitat variables, particularly vegetation structure and the cover of rock and bare soil. Rodent species diversity was negatively correlated with the proportion of total foliage at low to mid heights (40 - 80 cm). Factors controlling apparent habitat preferences are discussed together with modes of rodent niche separation. Extrapolation of the results is limited by the single season and restricted geographical coverage of the survey.

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