Small terrestrial mammals living along streams acting as natural landscape barriers

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Abstract

Riparian stands along streams are important landscape elements – biocorridors, allowing the dispersal of many small terrestrial mammals. Streams are, however, also barriers limiting dispersal, which leads to isolation and population-genetic changes. Communities of small terrestrial mammals (Eulipotyphla, Rodentia) were studied in 2004 to 2006 on five watercourses of varying widths in Central European cultural landscape situated in South Bohemia (Czech Republic). In total, 547 individuals from 10 species were captured by the Capture-Mark-Recapture method (CMR). Yellow-necked mouse (Apodemus flavicollis) and bank voles (Myodes glareolus) were eu-dominant species at all locations. Species diversity and equitability rose with the degree of the barrier – proportional to the width of the stream.

The terrestrial mobility of selected species was also assessed. Apodemus flavicollis indicated overall highest values of mobility, and Myodes glareolus males also scored higher values, however, the width of the stream did not correlate with mobility in these species. The animals crossed water-courses on the order of tens of meters wide in the period of 3 months. The frequency of crossing of Apodemus flavicollis decreased exponentially with the width of the stream and was dependent on population density.

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