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Analysis of the remaining habitat of an endemic species rediscovered


Dipodomys gravipes is distributed only in the San Quintin plains, in the northwest of the peninsula of Baja California, México; this species is known to prefer flat areas and undisturbed sites. The San Quintin region has experienced accelerated agricultural development over the past 20 years, diminishing the populations of D. gravipes, which is listed as possibly extinct in its environment. In 2017, specimens from two sites were found after a 32-year lack of records. The aim of this work was to identity sites with habitat suitability where D. gravipes could be found, and conduct fieldwork to search for the D. gravipes in the sites with high suitability. The selection of sites was based on ecological niche models. We conducted a reclassification to obtain a “habitat suitability map”. In this map, we selected 30 sites to be surveyed in the field in search of D. gravipes using Sherman traps. A field surveys was conducted in October 2017. Sampling was not successful for D. gravipes. Following the results of the analyses, conditions with flat areas and undisturbed sites only occur in 1.6% of the historical distribution (37.3 km2). On the other hand, although no specimens of D. gravipes were found, the sites derived from the methodology developed in this work set the basis for future searches or to select areas where this species can be reintroduced if rediscovered. It is necessary and urgent to know the sites and conditions in which D. gravipes is present to support any proposal for its conservation.

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Ecological niche modeling


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San Diego Natural History Museum


Centro de Investigaciones Biológicas del Noroeste


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We thank Issac Camargo, Eduardo Aguilera, and Jairo Carlin for their valuable support in field and laboratory work. Thanks also to Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología for financial support. María Elena Sánchez-Salazar contributed to the edition of the English manuscript.

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Correspondence to Leticia Cab-Sulub or Sergio Ticul Álvarez-Castañeda.

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Cab-Sulub, L., Álvarez-Castañeda, S.T. Analysis of the remaining habitat of an endemic species rediscovered. Mamm Biol 100, 307–314 (2020).

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  • Conservation
  • Crop area
  • Ecological niche modeling
  • Kangaroo rat
  • Possibly extinct
  • San Quintin valley