Patterns of rodent pest infestation in relation to rainfed and irrigated crop systems in Rajasthan
A field study on the relationship between rodent fauna and crop ecosystem of the Indian Desert and its two main systems was undertaken in 5 villages and 7 dhanis near Jodhpur. Out of twelve rodent species,Meriones hurrianae had a highest relative abundance followed byTatera indica indica, andRattus meltada pallidior. Rodent fauna in the winter irrigated crops and fields was more diversified (11 species) than rainfed summer crops and fields (10 species).M. hurrianae was a predominant species in rainfed crop fields while,T. indica along withM. hurrianae was a codominant species in irrigated winter crops.Rattus gleadowi andVandeleuria oleracea from summer crop fields andMus cervicolor phillipsi in irrigated crop fields, were altogether absent. Relative abundance ofFunambulus pennanti,R. meltada, Mus booduga, Golunda ellioti gujerati andT. indica increased from rainfed to irrigated crop systems, whereas, reverse trend was witnessed forRattus rattus rufescens, M. hurrianae and twoGerbillus spp. (nanus andgleadowi). Occurrence patterns of different rodent species in the crop ecosystem of Indian desert as a whole and in irrigated and rainfed crop systems in particular have been critically discussed keeping in view their ecological, physiological, behavioural and biological patterns.