Vol. 53, 2014
flooded stepping stones: emerging diversity of small mammal assemblage
in the Amazonia-Cerrado ecotone, central Brazil
Rita Gomes Rocha1,2,3*, Eduardo Ferreira1, Iracy Coelho Menezes Martins3, Leonora Pires Costa2 and Carlos Fonseca1
1Departamento de Biologia and CESAM, Universidade de Aveiro, Campus de Santiago, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal.
2Laboratório de Mastozoologia e Biogeografia,
Departamento de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Espírito
Santo, Av. Marechal Campos 1468, Maruípe, 29043-900 Vitória, Espírito
3Laboratório de Caracterização e Impacto Ambiental, Universidade Federal do Tocantins, 109 Norte, Av. NS 15, ALCNO 14,
77001-090 Palmas, Tocantins, Brazil.
flooded natural forest fragments, so-called ipucas, in the Araguaia
alluvial plain of the state of Tocantins, central Brazil, represent a
peculiar landscape that is poorly surveyed. This study considers the
diversity in the small mammal assemblage and the zoogeographical
patterns of this assemblage when compared to 30 other studysites in Brazil.
harbour species adapted to disturbed habitats that are common in
fragmented landscapes and endemic species of the Cerrado. However, they
also constitute the most central-eastern distribution limit of one
typical Amazonian species. These fragments are closely related to the
central-western region of Brazil, in the Amazonia-Cerradoecotone, which lies in the so-called arc of deforestation.
results reinforce the idea that the habitat mosaic found in the
Araguaia alluvial plain has an important role in promoting the high
biodiversity of this area and that natural forest fragments may act as
a refuge and food resource for several species. These fragments may
also constitute essential stepping stones for small mammal species
within agricultural landscapes. Further studies are essential to better
understand small mammal communities inhabiting natural forest fragments
in the Araguaia alluvial plain, and these will support in assessing the
future of this fauna and,thereby, help to establish future conservation practices in this area.
Key words: Araguaia alluvial plain; Arc of deforestation; Didelphimorphia; ‘Ipucas’; Rodentia
*Correspondence: E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org