Habitat use and demography of Mus musculus in a rural landscape of Argentina


Correspondence: Vanina A. León, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, Intendente Güiraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, C1428EGA, Argentina. Email: vleon@ege.fcen.uba.ar


The main goal of the paper was to determine the habitat distribution of the house mouse (Mus musculus) within a rural landscape of Buenos Aires province, Argentina. We also studied the seasonal variation in abundance and reproductive activity. The habitats studied were poultry farms, human houses in a small village, cropfields, pastures, cropfield and pasture edges, riparian habitats (streams), railway embankments and woodlots. We captured 817 M. musculus and 690 individuals of 5 native rodent species. M. musculus was captured in poultry farms, houses, riparian habitats, cropfield and borders, but it showed a significantly higher abundance in poultry farms compared to the other habitats. Its presence outside poultry farms was significantly related to the distance to streams and poultry farms. The mean trapping success index of M. musculus did not show significant variations between periods, but the proportion of active males was significantly higher in the spring–summer period than in the autumn–winter period. All captures of M. musculus in cropfields, borders and riparian habitats occurred in the spring–summer period. The capture of M. musculus in many types of habitats suggests that it can disperse outside poultry farms, and streams may be used as corridors.