Small mammals distribution and diversity in a plague endemic area in West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania

  • Njaka A. Ralaizafisoloarivony Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Didas N. Kimaro Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agricultural Engineering & Land Planning
  • Nganga I. Kihupi Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3003, Morogoro
  • Loth S. Mulungu Pest Management Centre, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P. O. Box 3110, Morogoro
  • Herwig Leirs University of Antwerp, Evolutionary Ecology Group, Groenenborgerlaan 171, B-2020 Antwerpen
  • Balthazar M. Msanya Department of Soil Science, Sokoine University of Agriculture, P.O. Box 3008, Morogoro
  • Jozef A. Deckers Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200 E, B-3001 Heverlee
  • Hubert Gulinck Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences, University of Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200 E, B-3001 Heverlee
Keywords: Plague, small mammals, species diversity, distribution, Tanzania

Abstract

Small mammals play a role in plague transmission as hosts in all plague endemic areas. Information on distribution and diversity of small mammals is therefore important for plague surveillance and control in such areas. The objective of this study was to investigate small mammals’ diversity and their distribution in plague endemic area in the West Usambara Mountains in north-eastern Tanzania. Landsat images and field surveys were used to select trapping locations in different landscapes. Three landscapes with different habitats were selected for trapping of small mammals. Three types of trap were used in order to maximise the number of species captured. In total, 188 animals and thirteen species were captured in 4,905 trap nights. Praomys delectorum and Mastomys natalensis both reported as plague hosts comprised 50% of all the animals trapped. Trap success increased with altitude. Species diversity was higher in plantation forest followed by shrub, compared to other habitats, regardless of landscape type. It would therefore seem that chances of plague transmission from small mammals to humans are much higher under shrub, natural and plantation forest habitats.

Author Biography

Didas N. Kimaro, Sokoine University of Agriculture Department of Agricultural Engineering & Land Planning
Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural Engineering and Land Planning Land use and water resources planning and management
Published
2014-06-28
How to Cite
RalaizafisoloarivonyN. A., KimaroD. N., KihupiN. I., MulunguL. S., LeirsH., MsanyaB. M., DeckersJ. A., & GulinckH. (2014). Small mammals distribution and diversity in a plague endemic area in West Usambara Mountains, Tanzania. Tanzania Journal of Health Research, 16(3). https://doi.org/10.4314/thrb.v16i3.4
Section
Articles

Journal Identifiers


eISSN: 1821-9241
print ISSN: 1821-6404