Zoological Research ›› 2019, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 53-60.doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.004

Special Issue: Mammals

• Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Diversity and distribution patterns of non-volant small mammals along different elevation gradients on Mt. Kenya, Kenya

Simon Musila1,#, Zhong-Zheng Chen2,3,#,*, Quan Li2,5, Richard Yego1, Bin Zhang2,5, Kenneth Onditi1,2, Immaculate Muthoni1, Shui-Wang He2,5, Samson Omondi1, James Mathenge4, Esther N. Kioko1, Xue-Long Jiang2,5,*   

  1. 1 Mammalogy Section, Department of Zoology, National Museums of Kenya, Nairobi 40658-00100, Kenya
    2 Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming Yunnan 650223, China
    3 Anhui Province Key Laboratory for Conservation and Exploitation of Biological Resource, College of Life Science, Anhui Normal University, Wuhu Anhui 241000, China
    4 Kenya Wildlife Service, Mweiga Research Station, Nyeri 753-10100, Kenya
    5 Sino-Africa Joint Research Center, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nairobi 62000-00200, Kenya
  • Online:2019-01-18 Published:2018-12-15
  • Contact: Zhong-Zheng Chen,Xue-Long Jiang,E-mail:zhongzheng112@126.com; jiangxl@mail.kiz.ac.cn E-mail:zhongzheng112@126.com; jiangxl@mail.kiz.ac.cn
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Abstract: The distribution of small mammals in mountainous environments across different elevations can provide important information on the effects of climate change on the dispersal of species. However, few studies conducted on Afromontane ecosystems have compared the altitudinal patterns of small mammal diversity. We investigated the species diversity and abundance of non-volant small mammals (hereafter ‘small mammals’) on Mt. Kenya, the second tallest mountain in Africa, using a standard sampling scheme. Nine sampling transects were established at intervals of 200 m on the eastern (Chogoria) and western (Sirimon) slopes. A total of 1 905 individuals representing 25 species of small mammals were trapped after 12 240 trap-nights. Abundance was highest at mid-elevations on both slopes. However, species richness and distribution patterns differed between the two slopes. More species were recorded on Chogoria (24) than on Sirimon (17).On Chogoria, species richness was higher at mid-high elevations, with a peak at mid-elevation (2 800 m a.s.l.), whereas species richness showed little variation on the Sirimon slope. These results indicate that patterns of species diversity can differ between slopes on the same mountain. In addition, we extensively reviewed literature on Mt. Kenya’s mammals and compiled a comprehensive checklist of 76 mammalian species. However, additional research is required to improve our understanding of small mammal diversity in mountain habitats in Africa.

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