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Native and Invasive Small Mammals in Urban Habitats along the Commercial Axis Connecting Benin and Niger, West Africa

Abstract : Based on compiled small mammal trapping data collected over 12 years from Benin and Niger (3701 individual records from 66 sampling sites), located in mainland Africa, we here describe the small mammal community assemblage in urban habitats along the commercial axis connecting the two countries, from the seaport of Cotonou to the Sahelian hinterland, with a particular focus on invasive species. In doing so, we document extant species distributions, which highlight the risks of continuing the range expansion of three synanthropic invasive rodent species, namely black rats (Rattus rattus), brown rats (R. norvegicus), and house mice (Mus musculus). Using various diversity estimates and community ecology approaches, we detect a latitudinal gradient of species richness that significantly decreased Northward. We show that shrews (Crocidura) represent a very important component of micro-mammal fauna in West African towns and villages, especially at lower latitudes. We also demonstrate that invasive and native synanthropic rodents do not distribute randomly in West Africa, which suggests that invasive species dynamics and history differ markedly, and that they involve gradual, as well as human-mediated, long distance dispersal. Patterns of segregation are also observed between native Mastomys natalensis and invasive rats R. rattus and R. norvegicus, suggesting potential native-to-invasive species turn over. Consequences of such processes, especially in terms of public health, are discussed.
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Karmadine Hima, Gualbert Houemenou, Sylvestre Badou, Madougou Garba, Henri-Joël Dossou, et al.. Native and Invasive Small Mammals in Urban Habitats along the Commercial Axis Connecting Benin and Niger, West Africa. Diversity, MDPI, 2019, 11 (12), pp.238. ⟨10.3390/d11120238⟩. ⟨hal-02436731⟩

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