Sympatry and habitat associations of sigmodontine rodents in a neotropical forest-savanna interface

Robert D. Owen 1 , 2 , Jeremy V. Camp 3 , 4 , Richard Sage 5 , Laura Rodríguez 6 , Vicente J. Martínez Bruyn 7 , Ryan C. McAllister 8 ,  and Colleen B. Jonsson 9
  • 1 Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, TX 79409, Lubbock, USA
  • 2 Centro para el Desarrollo de la Investigación Científica, Raul Casal 2230, C.P. 1371, Asunción, Paraguay
  • 3 Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Louisville, KY 40204, Louisville, USA
  • 4 Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
  • 5 Sociedad Naturalista Andino Patagónica (SNAP), Paso Juramento 190, 3° piso, 8400 Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
  • 6 Departamento de SIG, Fundación Moises Bertoni, Prócer Argüello 208 e/Mcal. López y Guido Boggiani, Asunción, Paraguay
  • 7 Departamento de Biotecnología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Asunción, San Lorenzo, Paraguay
  • 8 Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, KY 40204, Louisville, USA
  • 9 Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, TN 38103, Memphis, USA
Robert D. Owen
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Biological Sciences, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409, USA
  • Centro para el Desarrollo de la Investigación Científica, Raul Casal 2230, C.P. 1371, Asunción, Paraguay
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, Jeremy V. Camp
  • Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40204, USA
  • Institute of Virology, University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna, Austria
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, Richard Sage
  • Sociedad Naturalista Andino Patagónica (SNAP), Paso Juramento 190, 3° piso, 8400 Bariloche, Río Negro, Argentina
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, Laura Rodríguez
  • Departamento de SIG, Fundación Moises Bertoni, Prócer Argüello 208 e/Mcal. López y Guido Boggiani, Asunción, Paraguay
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, Vicente J. Martínez Bruyn
  • Departamento de Biotecnología, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Asunción, San Lorenzo, Paraguay
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, Ryan C. McAllister
  • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Louisville School of Medicine, Louisville, KY 40204, USA
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and Colleen B. Jonsson
  • Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Biochemistry, University of Tennessee Health Science Center, Memphis, TN 38103, USA
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Abstract

Small mammal communities in the Neotropics are composed largely of sigmodontine rodents. However, many questions regarding these communities remain unanswered, especially those pertaining to fine-scale sympatry and habitat selection. To address this, we examined sigmodontine community structure and vegetation in the western margin of the Upper Paraná Atlantic Forest and the southwestern-most extent of the Cerrado (CE) (an extensive South American savanna ecoregion) of Paraguay. Vegetation classifications were derived from satellite imagery combined with maps based on extensive ground-based surveys. The three most abundant species (Akodon montensis, Hylaeamys megacephalus, and Oligoryzomys nigripes) were found most often in microsympatry with conspecifics, and were negatively associated with other species. Akodon montensis was associated with high forest (HF), and H. megacephalus with bamboo understory (BU), whereas O. nigripes did not exhibit a habitat preference. The first two species’ distributions within the landscape were found to be driven primarily by habitat selection, and O. nigripes by a behavioral response (avoidance) to the presence of the other two species. Moreover, habitat influences whether or not a particular species associates with, or avoids, conspecifics or other species.

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Mammalia is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the inventory, analysis and interpretation of Mammalian diversity. It publishes original results on all aspects of systematics (comparative, functional and evolutionary morphology; morphometrics; phylogeny; biogeography; taxonomy and nomenclature), biology, ecology and conservation of mammals.

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