Habitat use and demographic characteristics of the west Mexican cotton rat (Sigmodon mascotensis)


In tropical deciduous forest along the Pacific coast in Colima, Mexico, we conducted eight-night mark-recapture studies of Sigmodon mascotensis (January 2003-2005), evaluating habitat preferences and demography. Yearly we established five grids with 100 trapping stations (one ground and one elevated trap; 24,000 trap-nights), each evaluated for 14 environmental measures. We captured 96 S. mascotensis 274 times on 10 grids, most at ground level (85.6%), with densities of 0.84-25.31 individuals/ha. Adults predominated (88.2%), sex ratio (males:females) was 1:0.74, and males were heavier. Sigmodon mascotensis co-occurred with Oryzomys couesi and Baiomys musculus more often and Heteromys pictus less often than chance expectation. For 2004, univariate analyses indicated that stations frequented had more ground cover in woody plants, forbs and grasses; less in litter and bare ground; more vegetation low and less high; lower and more open canopy; and longer distance to nearest tree. Logistic regression indicated preference for open canopy, dense low vegetation, little litter and longer distance to nearest tree. Nonparametric multiplicative regression showed occurrence likelihood decreased as litter increased and increased with increasing slope, average hits at 1 m and average distance to nearest tree. The likelihood was high with no or low canopy, as well as high canopy. © 2010 by Walter de Gruyter - Berlin - New York.

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