oa African Zoology - Nest-building and activity patterns in four sympatric rodent species

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



Activity pattern and nest-building in four rodent species, Aethomys chrysophilus, Praomys natalensis, Otomys angoniensis and Lemniscomys griselda, collected from a single area, were studied in the laboratory. Activity: Praomys and Aethomys were active primarily during the dark phase of a 12L:12D light regime while Lemniscomys was active primarily during the light phase. Otomys was individually variable and could not be classified as either nocturnal or diurnal. Nestbuilding: Each species handled grass in a species-specific manner to the extent to which the leaves were cut into pieces and split lengthwise. These rodents can be placed in the sequence Praomys, Aethomys, Otomys, Lemniscomys with regard both to the extent of this cutting and splitting and to the completeness of the resulting nest with Lemniscomys using the smallest pieces to produce the best, often spherical, nest. It is suggested that these differences may be correlated with a combination of factors including body mass, time of activity, nest location and extent of sociality, which in turn are correlated with the species' thermal requirements.

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