Praomys (four species), Lophuromys (four) and Deomys (one) are among the most common Muridae in the Kisangani region. To establish whether or not rivers constitute dispersal barriers for these rodents, we investigated the presence of these genera and their species in eight localities that are either separated by the Congo River or its tributaries. A total of 42,466 trapping nights resulted in the collection of 1185 Praomys, 233 Lophuromys and 209 Deomysferrugineus. We observed that in almost all cases the studied species appear to have restricted distribution ranges, and that it is likely that the importance of the rivers as a barrier differs for the studied species. For example, P. misonnei was only collected from the right bank of the Congo, while P. lukolelae appears to be restricted to the left bank. In contrast, Praomys identified as P. mutoni or as members of the P. jacksoni species complex are collected on both sides of the Congo River. In contrast, all Lophuromys species were collected in a limited number of sampling sites only. L. dudui and L. luteogaster were only collected along the right bank of the Congo River, and the latter species appears to be restricted to the right bank of the Lindi River. L. huttereri and L. rita are only detected on the left bank of the Congo River. However, additional sampling is required to confirm that D. ferrugineus and L. luteogaster (so far both species have only been recorded on the right bank) do not occur in Bomane on the right bank of the Aruwimi (Ituri) River. In agreement with earlier findings for larger mammals, and pending additional taxonomical work on the P. jacksoni species complex, our findings confirm that the Congo River constitutes a barrier that limits the dispersal of all studied murids, except P. mutoni.
©2008 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin New York