Comparative study of movement patterns of **Mastomys natalensis** in irrigated rice and fallow fields in eastern Tanzania
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
African journal of ecology. - Oxford
, p. 473-479
University of Antwerp
A 2-year capturemarkrecapture study was conducted to estimate home ranges and weekly travel distance of Mastomys natalensis (Smith 1834) in an irrigated rice ecosystem and fallow fields. We found that adults have larger home ranges than subadults in fallow fields but not in rice fields, indicating that fallow fields are more suitable for breeding. Travel distances were larger in rice fields, especially in the transplanting stage, during which rice fields are flooded and provide less food, causing movements into neighbouring fallow fields that then temporarily experience higher population density. A decrease in travel distance was observed in rice fields during the maturity stage, which can be explained by higher food availability and a more suitable, nonflooded situation. Movement of M. natalensis in rice-fallow mosaic landscapes thus seems to be driven by food availability and flooding status of the rice fields, which can be attributed to land use practices.