Movements and spatial patterns of Mastomys erythroleucus in maize cropping systems in the Kenyan Rift Valley
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We studied movements and spatial patterns of Mastomys erythroleucus in four permanent capturemark- recapture grids in maize cropping systems in the Kenyan Rift Valley. Mean daily movements were affected by maize crop phenology. There was also a significant interaction effect between sex and crop phenology on daily movements. Ranging distances varied by sex with males ranging further than females between successive captures. The majority of marked individuals remained within 20 m of their point of first capture for the three consecutive days in each trapping period. Rodent captures were highly clustered around the grid center or the periphery in three grids but were distributed randomly in the fourth grid. The clustered dispersions could suggest habitat preferences by M. erythroleucus within these fields and such areas could provide targets for ecologically based management. Changes in movement patterns in response to environmental factors allow for colonization and use of available resources in cultivated areas. Rodent control measures may focus on, among other approaches, limiting dispersal in farms.