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Habitat use and potential interactions between the house mouse and lesser white-toothed shrew on an island undergoing habitat restoration

Abstract

To forecast the potential impact of plant community and dry-stone wall restoration on an insular population of the lesser white-toothed shrewCrocidura suaveolens Pallas, 1811, shrew and house mouseMus musculus Linnaeus, 1758 abundances were assessed in 3 anthropogenic habitats on Béniguet Island, Brittany, France, by a standardised annual trapping system checked yearly for 9 years and in 6 “natural” habitats by trap-lines. The standardised trapping system showed that abundances of both species fluctuated synchronously for nine years, suggesting that interactions between the species had little impact if any on abundances. Mice were trapped in all habitats, but shrews only in “stone” habitats except for rare occurrences in one damp depression. Ruderal habitat was rarely used by either species. Data suggest that on Béniguet Island: (1)M. musculus is associated with anthropogenic habitats but is not as strictly tied to them as at nearby continental sites; (2)C. suaveolens is synanthropic, as has been reported in continental northern France; (3) shingle beaches and seashore food resources are particularly important forC. suaveolens; (4) the relationship betweenC. suaveolens andM. musculus could not be determined by the experiments and, if it exists at all, appears to be more competitive than predatory. Grassland restoration is unlikely to affect shrew populations. Dry-stone wall restoration may temporarily affect shrews but should ultimately benefit them.

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Correspondence to Michel Pascal.

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Associate editor was Magdalena Niedziałkowska.

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Pascal, M., Lorvelec, O., Bioret, F. et al. Habitat use and potential interactions between the house mouse and lesser white-toothed shrew on an island undergoing habitat restoration. Acta Theriol 54, 39–49 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03193136

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Key words

  • Crocidura suaveolens
  • Mus musculus
  • biological invasion
  • conservation
  • habitat
  • island