Abundance of rodents and fleas

Published: 21 December 2018| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/j369ckd3yv.1
Contributor:
Annabel Banda

Description

The objective of the study were to determine the abundance and diversity of rodents and associated fleas in a plague endemic (Nkayi district) and non endemic (Umzingwane district) areas. It was a comparative study, where two villages were sampled in each district. The study utilised removal trapping method. A total of 154 rodents were captured, with 81 rodents captured at Nkayi, while 73 were captured in Umzingwane district. The abundant rodent species at Nkayi was Tatera leucogaster whereas in Umzingwane district it was Mastomys natalensis. Fleas were dislodged from captured rodents, processed and identified. Altogether 162 fleas were collected, 114 were gathered from Nkayi while in Umzingwane district 48 fleas were collected. The most abundant flea species at Nkayi was X. brasiliensis.

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Rodents were collected using removal trapping method utilising sherman traps for three consecutive days per each sampling session. Traps were checked every morning with productive traps being replaced. Captured rodents were euthenised prior to being identified using illustrations and descriptions by Smithers, 1975. Fleas were collected subsequently by brushing rodents pelage in the opposite direction. Fleas were stored in 80% alcohol for further processing the laboratory. In the laboratory fleas were made clear by being placed in potassium hydroxide solution. Fleas were identified following illustrations and descriptions by Bahmanyar and Cavanaugh, 1966. During all this time data was being recorded in a note book, later it was entered into Excel spread sheet. However analysis was done using Past software. Mann Whitney (for abundance) and T test (diversity indices) was used to reach to a statistical conclusion