Action A2. A baseline survey of small terrestrial mammals along the reed-beds of Lesser Prespa Lake

Yiannis Theodoropoulos

A survey of terrestrial small mammals was conducted in order to shed light on the species composition and distribution of the small mammal community associated with the reed-beds of Lesser Prespa Lake. The findings will inform decision-making regarding the management of reed-beds in the area, to be implemented under the framework of LIFE Prespa Waterbirds project. In order to assess the small mammal community, Longworth traps were set in a network of sampling sites across the study area and along lines that followed the edge of reed-beds. 12 sampling sites were monitored for two trap periods each, using a total of 21 traps per period. This yielded a sum of 504 “trap-nights” for the entire study area, well inside the threshold suggested in the literature. 52 small mammals were captured during our trapping sessions. This amounts to an overall capture rate of 10.3%, which is considered typical for analogous studies. Nonetheless, only representatives of three different genera (Apodemus, Microtus and Crocidura) were captured, belonging to just four common species of least conservation interest (Apodemus flavicollis - Yellow-necked mouse, Apodemus sylvaticus - Wood mouse, Microtus mystacinus - Eastern European vole and Crocidura suaveolens - Lesser Whitetoothed shrew). The results cannot be taken to imply an overall low small mammal biodiversity for the area in question. Reliably assessing the species composition of their community in a set area is an arduous task, especially with regards to the rarest species. More in-depth long-term and/or large-scale live-trapping programs would be required to formulate a clearer image of small mammal diversity, distribution and abundance. It is clear though, that despite the invested effort, the study findings are of limited use with regards to reed management in Lesser Prespa Lake

Theodoropoulos, Y., 2017. A baseline survey of small terrestrial mammals along the reed-beds of Lesser Prespa Lake. Report within the framework of the project “LIFE Prespa Waterbirds” (LIFE15 NAT/GR/000936). Society for the Protection of Prespa. 

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