African Zoology

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Origin and putative colonization routes for invasive rodent taxa in the Democratic Republic of Congo

P.K. Kaleme, J.M. Bates, H.K. Belesi, R.C.K. Bowie, M. Gambalemoke, J. Kerbis-Peterhans, J. Michaux, J.M. Mwanga, B.R. Ndara, P.J. Taylor, B. Jansen van Vuuren


The threat posed by biological invasions is well established. An important  consideration in preventing the spread of invasives and also subsequent  introductions lies in understanding introduction pathways. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) houses a large percentage of the world’s biodiversity, yet no national strategy exists to deal with the growing number of invasive alien species. Amongst these are the house mouse and ship and Norwegian rats. By comparing our result to published data, we show that species were possibly introduced into the DRC via two routes. The first is via the western seaport at Kinshasa where  specimens of M. m. domesticus and R. rattus on the western and northwestern side of the DRC show ties with European haplotypes. The second is via the east where specimens of R. rattus appear linked to Arab and southeast Asian haplotypes. Future work should consider more comprehensive sampling throughout the DRC to more accurately investigate the occurrence of invasive species throughout the country as well as extend sampling to other African countries.

Key words: control region, invasion, mitochondrial DNA, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mus musculus, Rattus rattus, Rattus norvegicus, introduction pathway.

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