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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

A Decade-Long Change in the Elevational Distribution of Non-Volant Small Mammals on Mount Meru, Tanzania

Gebrezgiher, Genet Berhe; Makundi, Rhodes H.; Meheretu, Yonas; Mulungu, Loth S.; Katakweba, Abdul A. S.


Understanding species distribution across elevational gradients is crucial for developing conservation strategies for montane biotic systems. A survey of small mammals was conducted on Mount Meru at six elevations, ranging between 1500 m and 3650 m. A total of 803 small mammal individuals, including 2 shrew species and 13 rodent species, were documented. Of these, Crocidura newmarki and Lophuromys verhageni were endemic on Mount Meru. Species richness was highest at mid-elevations, which is in line with the global pattern for small mammals. Prior to our study, the most complete data on small mammals on Mount Meru was collected in 2009. Our study provides an opportunity to show how small mammal elevational distribution has changed, over the last decade. We found six species (Arvicanthis niloticus, Mastomys natalensis, Lemniscomys striatus, Dasymys incomtus, Cricetomys ansorgei, and Montemys delectorum), which were not documented in 2009, but did not find Otomys tropicalis. Interestingly, the community composition at higher elevations in 2021 resembles that at lower elevations in 2009, suggesting that small mammal species have moved their range upward over time. Climate change could be a factor associated with the distributional shift found.


elevational distribution; rodents; shrews; species composition; climate changes

Published in

2022, volume: 14, number: 6, article number: 454
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Gebrezgiher, Genet Berhe
Sokoine University of Agriculture
Gebrezgiher, Genet Berhe
Mekelle University
Makundi, Rhodes H.
Sokoine University of Agriculture
Mekelle University
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies
Mulungu, Loth S.
Sokoine University of Agriculture
Katakweba, Abdul A. S.
Sokoine University of Agriculture

UKÄ Subject classification

Biological Systematics

Publication Identifiers


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