Oral Presentation- Symposium 12th International Mammalogical Congress

Ecological correlates of changes in the abundance of the main hantavirus hosts in Brazil (#29)

Renata de Lara Muylaert 1 2 , Ricardo Siqueira Bovendorp 1 , Gilberto Sabino-Santos Jr 3 , Camila de Fátima Priante Bernardo 1 2 , Mauro Galetti 1 , Milton Cezar Ribeiro 1 2
  1. Department of Ecology, Biosciences Institute, São Paulo State University UNESP, Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
  2. LEEC Spatial Ecology and Conservation Lab, Rio Claro, São Paulo, Brazil
  3. Center for Virology Research, School of Medicine in Ribeirão Preto, University of São Paulo, Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, Brazil

One of the main species responsible for hantavirus disease transmission in Brazil is Necromys lasiurus, a rodent found in the Brazilian main biomes (savannas and tropical forests) usually living in and out of native forests. Here we investigated how this species responds to the landscape structure, habitat heterogeneity, climate and local rodent diversity. Our expectation was that landscape structure gathers the main correlates of the abundance of rodents, where areas with 1) predominance of agricultural matrix, 2) more contact areas between favorable habitat for reservoirs and remaining vegetation and would positively affect their abundance. We analysed data on areas where rodents were captured from a set of 278 inventories mainly located within the Atlantic Forest. Heterogeneity was calculated based on the supposed affinity of N. lasiurus for open agricultural areas and native vegetation areas. N. lasiurus was found in 35 sites and the main effects of predictors were the positive influence of habitat heterogeneity and the negative effect of precipitation on their abundance. Abundance peaked at intermediate to high levels of habitat heterogeneity at landscape scale. Local rodent diversity was not associated with N. lasiurus abundance, suggesting that landscape alteration is more important to determine abundance than other rodent species dominance effects. It would be interesting to test the influence of other trophic levels on this host abundance. This information helps to inform surveillance and prevention of hantavirus disease in the field and also contributes to understand potential factors influencing disease transmission risk.