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Mastozoología neotropical

Print version ISSN 0327-9383On-line version ISSN 1666-0536


BENINATO, Verónica A; BORGHI, Carlos E; DE LOS RIOS, Claudia F  and  GIANNONI, Stella M. Diversity of a small-mammal assemblage in the Puna Desert of San Juan (Argentina). Mastozool. neotrop. [online]. 2019, vol.26, n.1, pp.31-48. ISSN 0327-9383.

In South America, deserts occupy an important extension, covering 69% of its surface in Argentina. Most research on small mammals has been conducted on Monte Desert but it is not the same for micromammals of high deserts. The objectives of this research were to assess small mammal abundance and diversity at three main environments at southern Puna Desert. The study was conducted in the multiple-use private reserve “Don Carmelo”, on rocky outcrops, hills and plains, with altitudes ranging from 3000 to 3800 m a.s.l. We used Sherman-like traps and established nine trapping grids of 36 traps per environment type. We recorded 756 captures (310 different individuals) of three rodents and one marsupial species (Phyllotis xanthopygus, Abrothrix andina, Eligmodontia sp. and Thylamys pallidior) in 12 312 trap nights. Plain was the most diverse and evenness environment, but at the same time it had the lowest small mammals abundance. The environment with the highest small mammals abundance, although the least diversity and evenness, was the rocky outcrop. Phyllotis xanthopygus was the most abundant species on rocky outcrop, while Eligmodontia sp. was on plain. Small mammals richness registered in Puna Desert is similar to other high environments of Argentina. Our study contributes to the knowledge of the biota of this protected area, providing basic information about mountainous environments that represent areas of difficult access and poorly explored in the region.

Keywords : Mountainous environments; Puna; Richness; Rocky outcrops; Sigmodontine rodents.

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