Role of interspecific competition in the coexistence ofApodemus argenteus andA. speciosus (Rodentia: Muridae)
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Reciprocal-removal experiments with two replicates were conducted to test for the role of interspecific competition in the coexistence ofApodemus argenteus andA. speciosus. Population density, rate of appearance of new (unmarked) individuals, reproduction, survival rate and habitat use were monitored during pre- and removal periods. In both removal experiments, the removal ofA. argenteus had little effect onA. speciosus, while that ofA. speciosus affected several population characteristics ofA. argenteus. Namely, the removal ofA. speciosus shifted the distribution ofA. argenteus to the habitat with a denser shrub cover in one experiment. Also, the removal increased the population densities and appearance rates of new individuals ofA. argenteus in another experiment. Interspecific interactions between the two species appeared to be a one-way action fromA. speciosus toA. argenteus. In removal periods in both experiments, the rates of appearance of new individuals in each species were the highest on the grid where that species was removed. These results suggest that, though interspecific competition occurred between the two species, intraspecific competition had greater effects than interspecific competition on the abundance and habitat use ofA. argenteus andA. speciosus. This implies that the fundamental niches ofA. argenteus andA. speciosus differ potentially, which may play an important role in the coexistence of the two species.
Key wordsApodemus coexistence interspecific competition intraspecific competition reciprocal-removal experiment
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