Rodent community structure and their damage in cotton crop fields in Kilosa district, Tanzania

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Sokoine University of Agriculture


Rodent is the one of vertebrates group causing a significant crop loss from planting, harvest to storages. This study assessed abundance, diversity, age structure, sex ratio, damage level and food categories of rodent at different cotton growth stages (seedling, vegetative as well as flowering and boll development stages). The study was conducted in Kilosa, Tanzania in two different habitats (cotton fields and fallow lands) between March 2020 and August 2020. Rodent population was sampled through capture-mark-recapture (Peterson methods) trapping technique and individual stomachs were collected from snap traps. In all cotton growth stages, Mastomys natalensis predominated at seedling stage (63.64%) as well as at vegetative stage (50%), while at flowering and boll development stage, Leminscomys zebra dominated (50%) of all captures. Higher damage levels observed only at seedling stage (33%). Different types of foods were consumed in fields, but seeds, invertebrates and plant materials were predominantly consumed. The findings highlight clearly that rodents were more abundant at seedling stage and M. natalensis was dominant at that stage, also cotton damages were observed at that stage while no damages were observed in other stages. The study confirms that large population of rodent and damage of cotton crops largely occurred at seedling stage. Therefore, management actions may be more effective at seedling stage of cotton growth in the fields.




Rodent, Tanzania, Kilosa district, Cotton