Spatio-temporal patterns of introduced mice and invertebrates on Antipodes Island
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House mice (Mus musculus) are a widespread introduced species with major but often overlooked impacts on ecosystems, proportionally greater when they are the only introduced mammal present. Studies conducted on the ecology of mice on Antipodes Island, where they are the only introduced mammal, are presented and compared to previous work over the past four decades. Mice live-trapped on grids were more abundant in dense coastal tussock (147 mice/ha) compared to inland plateau grasslands (59 mice/ha), with a significant effect of age, but not sex, on both capture probability and range size. Body-size of mice has not changed over four decades, providing no evidence of gigantism, which on other Southern Ocean islands has been speculated to increase the predation risk to birds. Over 2,405 invertebrates from fourteen Orders were identified from pitfall traps and litter samples across five sites. Differences in invertebrate communities and taxonomic units attributable to habitat and altitude were detected among sites in both pitfall and litter samples on Antipodes Island. Differences in invertebrate communities were detected from litter samples on a neighbouring mouse-free island, with significantly greater abundance of large Amphipods and Collembola, but fewer Spiders. These data on introduced mouse ecology and invertebrate distribution on Antipodes Island contribute to the body of knowledge on Southern Ocean islands.
KeywordsBody-size Density House mouse Invertebrates Southern Ocean Spatially explicit capture–recapture
The author thanks Phil Moors and Rowley Taylor for providing unpublished data and discussion; Angus McIntosh and John Marris for discussion; Pete McClelland and Gilly Adam of DOC for logistical support; Henk Haazen and the crew of Tiama for transport; and Paul Sagar and David Thompson of NIWA for support, and the seabird (Erica Sommer, Dave Boyle and Mark Fraser) and geology (James Scott, Ian Turnbull) teams on the island for their assistance. Many thanks to Stephen Thorpe for taxonomic identification, sorting and photography of invertebrate samples. This research was conducted under DOC entry (SO-29716-LND 1011/35) and research (SO-29140-FAU 1011/20) permits, and University of Auckland Animal Ethics Committee approval (R845), and thanks to Pete McClelland, Keith Broome and a number of anonymous reviewers for critical comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.
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