Spatial segregation between invasive and native commensal rodents in an urban environment: a case study in Niamey, Niger.

PloS one

PubMedID: 25379785

Garba M, Dalecky A, Kadaoure I, Kane M, Hima K, Veran S, Gagare S, Gauthier P, Tatard C, Rossi JP, Dobigny G. Spatial segregation between invasive and native commensal rodents in an urban environment: a case study in Niamey, Niger. PLoS ONE. 2014;9(11):e110666.
Invasive rodents have been responsible for the diffusion worldwide of many zoonotic agents, thus representing major threats for public health. Cities are important hubs for people and goods exchange and are thus expected to play a pivotal role in invasive commensal rodent dissemination. Yet, data about urban rodents' ecology, especially invasive vs. native species interactions, are dramatically scarce. Here, we provide results of an extensive survey of urban rodents conducted in Niamey, Niger, depicting the early stages of rodent bioinvasions within a city. We explore the species-specific spatial distributions throughout the city using contrasted approaches, namely field sampling, co-occurrence analysis, occupancy modelling and indicator geostatistics. We show that (i) two species (i. e. rural-like vs. truly commensal) assemblages can be identified, and that (ii) within commensal rodents, invasive (Rattus rattus and Mus musculus) and native (Mastomys natalensis) species are spatially segregated. Moreover, several pieces of arguments tend to suggest that these exclusive distributions reflect an ongoing native-to-invasive species turn over. The underlying processes as well as the possible consequences for humans are discussed.