A test of five mechanisms of species coexistence between rodents in a southern African savanna Academic Article uri icon


  • The operation of five different mechanisms of species coexistence in a community of rodents was examined in a semi-arid Kalahari savanna in southern Africa. The two most common species were Tatera leucogaster (bushveld gerbil) and Rhabdomys pumilio (striped mouse). The mechanisms examined were habitat selection in a mosaic, microhabitat selection, spatial variation in resource abundance, temporal variation in resource abundance, and diet partitioning. The rodents were censused using mark-recapture live trapping, activity measured using sand-tracking, and foraging efficiency measured using giving-up densities (GUDs; the amount of food remaining following patch exploitation) in experimental food patches. There was no support for any of the five mechanisms: T. leucogaster tended to be a more efficient and mobile forager than R. pumilio. It is suggested that coexistence maybe …

publication date

  • January 1, 2005