oa African Zoology - Ecology of rodents at an old quarry in Zambia

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



An old quarry, 2,5 ha in size near Livingstone in southern Zambia was kill- and live-trapped between September 1974 and December 1976 to determine ecological relations among rodent species inhabiting it. Seven species were found to comprise the old quarry rodent community. Praomys natalensis was by far the most common although Saccostomus campestris and Lemniscomys griselda were also abundant. Four species (Tatera leucogaster, Steatomys pratensis, Mus minutoides and Aethomys chrysophilus were rare. Food and micro-habitat preferences of S. campestris and P. natalensis appeared similar. Seasonal fluctuations characterized the P. natalensis population while L Griselda was absent from the site during the latter part of the rainy season and early in the dry season. Pre-weaning survival of P. natalensis was very low, particularly early in the breeding season. The survival of the trappable population was good but declined following a burn at the study site. P. natalensis recruited into the population from May-July, lost between 20 and 35% of their body mass during the August-October period. Body mass increased as rodents attained sexual maturity early in the rainy season.

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