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The effects of forest fragmentation and isolation on insectivorous small mammals (Lipotyphla) on the Central High Plateau of Madagascar

  • Steven M. Goodman (a1) (a2) and Daniel Rakotondravony (a3)
    • Published online: 01 February 2000

A small mammal survey of the Lipotyphla (Tenrecidae and Soricidae) was conducted in the montane forest of the Réserve Spéciale d'Ambohitantely, Central High Plateau, Madagascar. Species richness of this group was assessed using standardized pit-fall trap techniques in a control site of 1250 ha and four smaller forest fragments (136, 30, 12 and 0.64 ha). The forests of this reserve are highly fragmented, isolated for many decades and about 90 km from the nearest large forest block. On the basis of pit-fall captures, lipotyphlan diversity was highest in the control site with nine species, including eight endemic taxa. The number of species declined progressively with diminishing forest size. The species richness found in the control site, the largest remaining block within the reserve, is comparable to other much more extensive forest blocks at parallel elevations and with similar botanical communities. Thus, it seems that the lipotyphlan community within the control site has not experienced notable local extinctions. The introduced Soricidae, Suncus murinus, has colonized the Ambohitantely forests. However, there is no evidence of competition between this species and members of the family Tenrecidae, particularly Microgale, as has been postulated in the literature.

Corresponding author
All correspondence to: S. M. Goodman, World Wide Fund for Nature, B.P. 738, Antananarivo (101), Madagascar. E-mail:
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Journal of Zoology
  • ISSN: 0952-8369
  • EISSN: 1469-7998
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-zoology
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