Date of this Version
Proceedings 18th Vertebrate Pest Conference, ed. R.O. Baker & A.C. Crabb. Published at University of California, Davis, 1998.
Rats and mice have traditionally been considered one of the most important pests of sugarcane. However, "control" campaigns are rarely specific to the target species, and can have an affect on local wildlife, in particular nonpest rodent species. The objective of this study was to distinguish between rodent species that are pests and those that are not, and to identify patterns of food utilization by the rodents in the sugarcane crop complex. Within the crop complex, subsistence crops like maize, sorghum, rice, and bananas, which are grown alongside the sugarcane, are also subject to rodent damage. Six native rodent species were trapped in the Papaloapan River Basin of the State of Veracruz; the cotton rat (Sigmodon hispidus), the rice rate (Oryzomys couesi), the small rice rat (O. chapmani), the white footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus), the golden mouse (Reithrodontomys sumichrasti), and the pigmy mouse (Baiomys musculus). In a stomach content analysis, the major food components for the cotton rat, the rice rat and the small rice rat were sugarcane (4.9 to 30.1 %), seed (2.7 to 22.9%), and vegetation (0.9 to 29.8%); while for the golden mouse and the pigmy mouse the stomach content was almost exclusively seed (98 to 100%). The authors consider the first three species to be pests of the sugarcane crop complex, while the last two species are not.