Phenotypic changes and small mammal impoverishment on a Brazilian Atlantic Forest Island
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Faunal impoverishment and distorted species compositions are common phenomena in oceanic islands; however, many land-bridge islands are poorly inventoried, especially in the Neotropics. We sampled a small mammal community on a land-bridge island (Anchieta Island) along the Brazilian coast. We found only one marsupial Didelphis aurita (Wied-Neuwied, 1826) and two rodent species Oligoryzomys nigripes (Olfers, 1818) and Trinomys iheringi (Thomas, 1911) during 12 months of live trapping and 9195 trap-nights. The diversity of rodents and marsupials was not explained by species-area relations, indicating possible past extinctions. The abundance of D. aurita and O. nigripes was approximately three times higher, while the abundance of T. iheringi was approximately four times lower than abundances reported from other Brazilian Atlantic Forest sites. The population of D. aurita exhibited many phenotypic changes; males were on average 8 % smaller and females produced 30 % less litters than those from the mainland and other land-bridge islands. The long history of forest disturbance, habitat loss, reduction in forest productivity, and the recent introduction of mesopredators may be the major drivers that explain the small mammal community composition on this island. © 2013 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.