Demographic aspects of the island syndrome in two Afrotropical **Mastomys** rodent species
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Acta oecologica. - Montreuil
, p. 72-79
University of Antwerp
The island syndrome is the name given to the particularities of the behavioural, morphological and demographical characteristics of island populations. As concerns demography, the island syndrome model states that densities and survival are greater in island than in mainland populations. Most previous studies aimed at confirming this prediction for small mammals have addressed species from the North Temperate Zone. Here, we tested the demographic expectations of the island syndrome using data gathered over two years for island and mainland populations of two African rodent species, Mastomys erytholeucus and Mastomys huberti, at two different sites in Senegal. Capture-Mark-Recapture methods allowing for variation in catchability of the individuals were used to yield estimates of both abundance (or density) and probability of survival and seniority (which is a demographic parameter inversely related to recruitment). As predicted from the island syndrome, survival and densities were indeed higher in island populations for the two study sites; however, only for the population with stronger island syndrome was the difference in survival biologically important. Estimates of the probability of seniority were similar for island and mainland populations at the two sites. Our findings provide support for the demographic expectations of the model of island syndrome in an Afrotropical context and thus confirm the general applicability of this syndrome while revealing differences according to particular insular situations. (C) 2012 Published by Elsevier Masson SAS.