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Summary

Six species of rodents and two species of insectivores, live-trapped on a 1 ha grid over a 27 month period, were studied in relation to microhabitat factors in a dry sub-humid grassland in Kenya.

Wet season peaks of small mammal species were followed by low numbers trapped during the dry seasons. Species distributions were correlated with different microhabitat parameters, and the separation of species with apparently similar environmental requirements could be explained largely in terms of current knowledge of the biology of the species. Correlation analyses indicated an ecological separation of two closely-related Mus species and of two Crocidura shrews.

Overlap indices were extremely high, ranging from 0.556 to 0.877 for all combinations of pairs of species. It seems likely that neither food nor micro-habitat partitioning completely explains the coexistence of the small mammal species and it is suggested that populations are highly transient, moving from refuge areas into temporarily favourable areas during the wet season.