Origin and putative colonization routes for invasive rodent taxa in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Published in: African Zoology
Volume 46, issue 1, 2011 , pages: 133–145
DOI: 10.1080/15627020.2011.11407486
Author(s): P. K. KalemeDepartment of Botany and Zoology, South Africa, J. M. BatesDepartment of Zoology, U.S.A., H. K. BelesiDepartment of Environment, Democratic Republic of Congo, R. C. K. BowieMuseum of Vertebrate Zoology and Department of Integrative Biology, U.S.A., M. GambalemokeFaculté des Sciences, Université de Kisangani, Democratic Republic of Congo, J. Kerbis-PeterhansDepartment of Zoology, U.S.A., J. MichauxUniversity of Liège, Belgium, J. M. MwangaCentre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, B. R. NdaraCentre de Recherche en Sciences Naturelles, Democratic Republic of Congo, P. J. TaylorDepartment of Ecology and Resource Management, South Africa, B. Jansen van VuurenDepartment of Botany and Zoology, South Africa


The threat posed by biological invasions is well established. An important consideration in preventing the spread of invasives and also subsequent introductions lies in understanding introduction pathways. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) houses a large percentage of the world’s biodiversity, yet no national strategy exists to deal with the growing number of invasive alien species. Amongst these are the house mouse and ship and Norwegian rats. By comparing our result to published data, we show that species were possibly introduced into the DRC via two routes. The first is via the western seaport at Kinshasa where specimens of M. m. domesticus and R. rattus on the western and northwestern side of the DRC show ties with European haplotypes. The second is via the east where specimens of R. rattus appear linked to Arab and southeast Asian haplotypes. Future work should consider more comprehensive sampling throughout the DRC to more accurately investigate the occurrence of invasive species throughout the country as well as extend sampling to other African countries.

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