Laurent Granjon

and 15 more

Urbanization processes are taking place at a very high rate, especially in Africa, these. At the same time, a number of small mammal species, be they native of invasive, take advantage of these human-induced habitat modifications. They represent commensal communities of organisms that cause a number of inconveniences to humans, including as potential reservoirs of zoonotic diseases. We studied via live trapping and habitat characterization such commensal small mammal communities in small villages to large cities of Senegal, to try understand how the species share this particular space. Seven major species were recorded, with exotic invasive house mice (Mus musculus) and black rats (Rattus rattus) dominating in numbers. The shrew Crocidura olivieri appeared as the main and more widespread native species, while native rodent species (Mastomys natalensis, M. erythroleucus, Arvicanthis niloticus and Praomys daltoni) were less abundant and/or more localized. Habitat preferences, compared between species in terms of room types and characteristics, showed differences between house mice, black rats and M. natalensis especially. Niche (habitat component) breadth and overlap were measured. Among invasive species, the house mouse showed a larger niche breadth than the black rat, and overall, all species displayed high overlap values. Co-occurrence patterns were studied at the locality and local scales. The latter show cases of aggregation (between the black rat and native species, for instance) and of segregation (as between the house mouse and the black rat in Tambacounda, or between the black rat and M. natalensis in K├ędougou). While updating information on commensal small mammal distribution in Senegal, a country submitted to a dynamic process of invasion by the black rat and the house mouse, we bring original information on how species occupy and share the commensal space, and make predictions on the evolution of these communities in a period of ever-accelerating global changes.