Small mammals of the Estação Ecológica de Bananal, southeastern Atlantic Forest, Brazil, with description of a new species of Brucepattersonius (Rodentia, Sigmodontinae)


The Atlantic Forest harbors an impressive diversity of nonvolant small mammals. Despite having been the target of many ecological and taxonomical studies in the last decades, this group is still poorly known in several aspects – basic information on intrapopulational morphologic variation and proper diagnoses are lacking for many species, even for common taxa. This is related to the fact that large series of specimens from a single locality are extremely rare in scientific collections. A consistent sampling effort was conducted at Estação Ecológica de Bananal, northeastern São Paulo State, throughout seven field expeditions between 2003 and 2011, under the coordination of the Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, resulting in extensive series of nonvolant small mammals. We studied in detail the external and cranio-dental morphology of this sample (575 specimens), that we assigned to 31 known species besides one new species to science. Most species belong to order Rodentia (26 species) from the families Cricetidae (22 species) and Echimyidae (four species); the remaining (six species) are marsupials from the order Didelphimorphia, family Didelphidae. This is one of the most diverse assemblages ever recorded in this biome, and includes some of the rarest endemic rodents of the Atlantic Forest, such as Abrawayaomys ruschii, Blarinomys breviceps, Drymoreomys albimaculatus, Phaenomys ferrugineus, Phyllomys kerri and Rhagomys rufescens. This outstanding richness can be explained by the extensive sampling effort performed for a long period of time. Also, the capture success of the third expedition (8.25%) is among the highest rates obtained in the Atlantic Forest and the extensive use of pitfall traps was fundamental for trapping this high number of species. Herein, we provide an annotated list of nonvolant small mammals occurring at Estação Ecológica de Bananal, with comprehensive analyses of morphological variation and detailed diagnoses that will allow their proper identification, and will provide a sound basis for a better comprehension of the geographic variation of these taxa across the biome. We also present a formal description for a new species of Brucepattersonius from the mountain ranges along the Paraíba do Sul valley. For five species of sigmodontine rodents, we investigate the levels of ontogenetic and sexual variation, and while the first is accentuate in all analyzed species the second does not contribute significantly to intrapopulation variation

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Cadernos Espinosanos (E-Journal)

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This paper was published in Cadernos Espinosanos (E-Journal).

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