Home range and reproduction of rodents in Maynugus irrigation field, Northern Ethiopia
AbstractMovement pattern, home range and reproduction of rodent pests were studied in agricultural and moorland habitats in Maynugus, Tigray Region of northern Ethiopia. Trapping was carried out during different phases of agriculture. Eighty-five percent of the resident individuals of both Mastomys erythroleucus and Arvicanthis dembeensis was recorded on grid 1, the most nutritious among the four grids studied. Non-residents were also more in this grid. M. erythroleucus had larger home range than that of A. dembeensis. Reproductive males and females of both species had larger home ranges than non-reproductive groups. On grid 1, smaller and denser home ranges were observed than on other grids. The largest home range overlap was observed on grid 1 during the reproductive phase of the crops. A bimodal peak of breeding of rodents was observed in association with the rain-fed and irrigation-fed cultivation periods. Maximum number of embryos was recorded during the end of the main rainy season and during the beginning of the dry season. M. erythroleucus accounted for the highest number of embryos and for the highest percentage of recruitment. The highest recruitment was during the post-harvest season. Based on the peak sexual status of these pests and the reproductive phase of the cultivated plants, rodent pest control measures in this area should be implemented during mid-August and early January.
SINET: Ethiopian Journal of Science Vol. 29(1) 2006: 57–62