Vol. 45 No. 2, 2006
Swimming Ability of 5 Species of African Rainforest Murid Rodents in Relation to Their Habitat Preferences
Violaine Nicolas1,* and Marc Colyn2
National d, Histoire Naturelle, Département de Systématique et
Evolution, USM 601, Laboratoire Mammifères et Oiseaux, 55 rue Buffon,
75005 Paris, France
2Unité Mixte de Recherche
CNRS 6553, Université de Rennes 1, Station Biologique, 35380 Paimpont,
France Tel: 33-2-99618188. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Violaine Nicolas and Marc Colyn (2006) The swimming abilities of 5 species of rainforest rodents (Heimyscus fumosus (Brosset et al.), Hybomys univittatus (Peters), Hylomyscus stella (Thomas), Malacomys longipes Milne-Edwards, and Praomys cf. misonnei
Van der Straeten and Dieterlen) are described in order to discuss the
relation between the ability of these species to escape flooding by
swimming, and their preference for upland or flooded forest habitats.
The 5 species exhibited a gradient of swimming abilities: the 2 upland
species (H. univittatus and H. fumosus) were poor swimmers; the 2 habitat generalists (P. cf misonnei and H. stella) were better swimmers but did not use the underwater medium; and the species which preferentially inhabits flooded forest (M. longipes)
could swim well on and below the water surface. These differences in
swimming ability may be related to differences in the resistance of the
fur to absorb water, tail and hind foot lengths, and the use of either
continuous or intermittent swimming among these species.
Key words: Muridae, Gabon, Upland forest, Riparian forest, Swamp forest.
*Correspondence: Tel: 33-1-40793505. Fax: 33-1-40793063. E-mail: email@example.com