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Seasonal demography of different black rat (Rattus rattus) populations under contrasting natural habitats in Guadeloupe (Lesser Antilles, Caribbean).

Abstract : The black rat (Rattus rattus) is one of the most widespread rodents on islands worldwide, introduced over the last five centuries. However, reliable information concerning how biotic or abiotic factors influence key parameters of black rat population biology in insular contexts is currently unavailable. Here we aim to document the relative abundance of rat populations and evaluate how the age structure and the body mass of adult individual vary seasonally in different forest environments under contrasting climatic conditions. Rats were captured during wet and dry seasons in 2017–2018 at one or two sites in each of the four natural forested environments of Guadeloupe, all of which experience widely different annual rainfall (semi-deciduous dry forest, seasonal evergreen forest, mountain rainforest and Pterocarpus officinalis swamp forest). A total of 171 black rats were captured during a 1018 trap-night effort. Overall capture results confirm this species to thrive in all the natural forested environments we investigated. With the exception of the P. officinalis swamp forest, black rat populations reach higher relative abundances during the wet season due to juvenile and sub-adult recruitment at the end of the dry season. In contrast, in the P. officinalis swamp forest, breeding activity continues during both seasons and relative rat abundance appears to fluctuate less seasonally. The relative abundance of adult black rats is also higher in the seasonal semi-evergreen and rainforests that experience little or no water stress. These contexts therefore appear the most favourable for sustaining black rat populations, a pattern that is most likely connected to a combination of climatic and/or edaphic parameters that condition the year-round availability and abundance of food resources.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02986612
Contributor : Rémi Laffont Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, September 30, 2021 - 4:15:05 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, November 24, 2021 - 10:50:05 AM

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Jean Goedert, David Cochard, Arnaud Lenoble, Olivier Lorvelec, Benoît Pisanu, et al.. Seasonal demography of different black rat (Rattus rattus) populations under contrasting natural habitats in Guadeloupe (Lesser Antilles, Caribbean).. Mammal Research, 2020, 65 (4), pp.793-804. ⟨10.1007/s13364-020-00523-w⟩. ⟨hal-02986612⟩

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