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Open AccessArticle

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

1
Faculté des Sciences et Techniques, Université Abdou Moumouni, Niamey BP 10662, Niger
2
Ecole Polytechnique d’Abomey-Calavi, Laboratoire de Recherche en Biologie Appliquée, Université d’Abomey-Calavi, Cotonou 01 BP 2009, Benin
3
Direction Générale de la Protection des Végétaux, Niamey BP 323, Niger
4
Centre de Biologie pour la Gestion des Populations, UMR IRD-INRA-Cirad-Montpellier SupAgro-MUSE, Campus International de Baillarguet, 755 avenue du Campus Agropolis, CS 30016, 34988 Montferrier-sur-Lez, France
5
Centre Régional Agrhymet, Rue de l’Université, Niamey BP 11011, Niger
6
IRD, Aix Marseille Université, LPED, 13331 Marseille Cedex 3, France
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Diversity 2019, 11(12), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11120238
Received: 18 October 2019 / Revised: 26 November 2019 / Accepted: 4 December 2019 / Published: 10 December 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Invasions 2020 Horizon)
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: synanthropic rodents; biological invasion; community ecology; Rattus; Mus; West Africa synanthropic rodents; biological invasion; community ecology; Rattus; Mus; West Africa
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Hima, K.; Houémenou, G.; Badou, S.; Garba, M.; Dossou, H.-J.; Etougbétché, J.; Gauthier, P.; Artige, E.; Fossati-Gaschignard, O.; Gagaré, S.; Dobigny, G.; Dalecky, A. Native and Invasive Small Mammals in Urban Habitats along the Commercial Axis Connecting Benin and Niger, West Africa. Diversity 2019, 11, 238.

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