Small mammal diversity in Semi-deciduous Seasonal Forest of the southernmost Brazilian Pampa: the importance of owl pellets for rapid inventories in human-changing ecosystems

  • Narla Shannay Stutz Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS), Instituto de Geociências (IGEO), Programa de Pós Graduação em Geociências (PPGGEO) - Porto Alegre, RS, Brasil.
  • Patrícia Hadler Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Departamento de Geologia (DGL), Laboratório de Paleontologia (LABPALEO), Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geologia - Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.
  • Jorge José Cherem Caipora (Cooperativa para a Conservação da Natureza) - Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.
  • Ulyses Francisco José Pardiñas Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAUS) y Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) - Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina; Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INABIO), Associate Researcher - Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador.
Keywords: Bibimys, Juliomys, Lundomys, Tyto furcata, Wilfredomys


The Pampa biogeographic province covers a mere 2% of the Brazilian territory (176,496 km²). However, it stands out as a complex and diverse ecosystem, although its mammal communities are still scarcely understood. Human activities are transforming the territory into a mosaic of agroecosystems, native and exotic forest fragments, and grasslands. Here we conducted the first investigation to determine the richness of small mammal assemblages in the region based on extensive analyses of owl pellets (Tyto furcata). Craniodental remains were studied from samples collected from 12 Semi-deciduous Seasonal Forest sites in the municipality of São Lourenço do Sul, State of Rio Grande do Sul, Southern Brazil. A total of 2,617 individuals belonging to 19 taxa were recorded, including 2 marsupials (Didelphidae; 0.42%), 2 chiropterans (Molossidae, Phyllostomidae; 0.12%), and 15 rodents (Cricetidae, Muridae, Caviidae; 99.46%). The rodent genera Oligoryzomys, Mus, Calomys, and Akodon were the most common taxa. Large samples also included poorly known taxa, such as the cricetids Bibimys, Juliomys (recording here its southernmost occurrence), Lundomys, and Wilfredomys. From a biogeographical point of view, the recorded assemblage embraces a mixture of Platan, Pampean, and Atlantic Forest elements, highlighting the role of the southernmost Brazilian hills as a wedge favoring the penetration of forest micromammals to higher latitudes. Our findings testify to the great diversity of the Pampa, but also point to a growing homogeneity and dominance of rodent species that are widespread in agroecosystems. Rapid inventories based on owl pellets emerge as a suitable, economic, non-invasive tool to document these community changes.


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Author Biographies

Patrícia Hadler, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC), Departamento de Geologia (DGL), Laboratório de Paleontologia (LABPALEO), Programa de Pós-Graduação em Geologia - Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.

Rua Engenheiro Agrônomo Andrey Cristian Ferreira, 535, Saco dos Limões, CEP 88040-535, Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.

Jorge José Cherem, Caipora (Cooperativa para a Conservação da Natureza) - Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.

Avenida Desembargador Vítor Lima, 260, Sala 908, Trindade, CEP 88040-400, Florianópolis, SC, Brasil.

Ulyses Francisco José Pardiñas, Instituto de Diversidad y Evolución Austral (IDEAUS) y Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) - Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina; Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INABIO), Associate Researcher - Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador.

Bv. Almirante Brown 2915, Puerto Madryn, Chubut, Argentina.
Pje. Rumipamba N. 341 y Av. de los Shyris (Parque La Carolina), Quito, Pichincha, Ecuador.


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How to Cite
Stutz, N., Hadler, P., Cherem, J. J., & Pardiñas, U. (2020). Small mammal diversity in Semi-deciduous Seasonal Forest of the southernmost Brazilian Pampa: the importance of owl pellets for rapid inventories in human-changing ecosystems. Papéis Avulsos De Zoologia, 60, e20206025.
Original Article