Distribution and ecology of lesser pouched rat, Beamys hindei, in Tanzanian coastal forests
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
INTEGRATIVE ZOOLOGY (ELECTRONIC)
, p. 531-542
University of Antwerp
The lesser pouched rat, Beamys hindei, is a small rodent that is patchily distributed in the Eastern Arc Mountains and coastal forests in East Africa. The ecology of this species and its current distribution in coastal forests is not well known. Therefore, we conducted a study in selected coastal forests to assess the current distribution of the species and to investigate the population ecology in terms of abundance fluctuations and demographic patterns. Assessments of the species distribution were conducted in 5 forests through trapping with Sherman live traps. Data on ecology were obtained from monthly capture-mark-recapture studies conducted for 5 consecutive nights per month in two 1 ha grids set in Zaraninge Forest over a 2-year period. The results indicate the presence of B. hindei in 3 forests where it was not previously recorded. The population abundance estimates ranged from 1 to 40 animals per month, with high numbers recorded during rainy seasons. Reproduction patterns and sex ratios did not differ between months. Survival estimates were not influenced by season, and recruitment was low, with growth rate estimates of 1 animal per month. These estimates suggest a stable population of B. hindei in Zaraninge Forest. Further studies are recommended to establish the home range, diet and burrowing behavior of the species in coastal forests in East Africa.