Diversity and distribution patterns of non-volant small mammals along different elevation gradients on Mt. Kenya, Kenya
- Publish Date: 2019-01-18
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.
|Citation:||Simon Musila, Zhong-Zheng Chen, Quan Li, Richard Yego, Bin Zhang, Kenneth Onditi, Immaculate Muthoni, Shui-Wang He, Samson Omondi, James Mathenge, Esther N. Kioko, Xue-Long Jiang. Diversity and distribution patterns of non-volant small mammals along different elevation gradients on Mt. Kenya, Kenya. Zoological Research, 2019, 40(1): 53-60. doi: 10.24272/j.issn.2095-8137.2019.004|