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University of KwaZulu-Natal (1978)

The mammals of the Transvaal

Rautenbach, Ignatius Lourens.

Titre : The mammals of the Transvaal.

Auteur : Rautenbach, Ignatius Lourens.

Université de soutenance : University of KwaZulu-Natal

Grade : Doctor Philosophiae 1978

Résumé
The primary object of this study is to provide a checklist of the mammals occurring within the Transvaal. A general biological account of each species forms the bulk of this treatise, - discussing, in order of sequence, firstly the taxonomic status of each species as based on a study of available museum specimens. Thereafter the distribution of each species is discussed, and illustrated with a map of known distribution. Remarks are presented on the various environmental factors that may influence individual species ranges. Habitat preferences, habits, and food preferences are then discussed. Available data on breeding seasonality, as based on the monthly ratio of reproductively active and inactive females, are given. External measurements and masses of males and females are tabulated. Records of occurrence based on the number of museum specimens from each locality, and the institution where these specimens are housed, are finally listed for each species. The text is supplemented by a gazetteer, giving the latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates of all the collecting localities. This study is based on some 12 000 museum specimens, the greatest majority housed in the Transvaal Museum collections. During the field work phase of this project, 57 localities were sampled. This yielded the majority of the specimens and the greater part of the data on which this book is based. Information gained from a study of earlier collected material supplements these data files. Additional information such as sight records, field observations, and the published accounts of other scientists, have also been incorporated into the central data files and have been discussed in relation to my own findings. The results of selected studies comprise the discussion. The basic behavioural trends and mean mass of all the carnivore species of the Transvaal are employed to speculate on how interspecific competition is avoided. The distribution of all southern African mammals is employed to statistically evaluate the validity of the biotic zones previously empirically recognized for this subcontinent. The distribution patterns of Transvaal mammals are statistically analysed to subdivide the biotic zones overlying the Transvaal into community types of zoogeographical significance. Other zoogeographical phenomena are discussed in relation to regional species diversity. Reprints of papers arising from this study, and particularly the discussion, are bound in as appendices to this report.

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