The efficiency of artificial latrines to detect and describe distribution patterns of the Pyrenean Desman (Galemys pyrenaicus)
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Department of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology, University of The Basque Country UPV/EHU
DESMA Estudios Ambientales
Department of Plant Biology and Ecology, University of The Basque Country UPV/EHU
Online publication date: 2024-02-24
Publication date: 2024-02-24
Corresponding author
Jon Levy Otheguy   

Department of Zoology and Animal Cell Biology, University of The Basque Country UPV/EHU
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2024;35(1):0
The traditional methods for detecting the Pyrenean Desman, based on animal trapping or detecting faeces in streams, were logistically cumbersome, and their efficiency varied in space and time. More recently, researchers started using artificial latrines to enhance the detection of faeces, but so far, there is no information on whether their use changes in space and time. To test this, we deployed 51 artificial latrines through the Artikutza Valley (Navarre, North Iberian Peninsula) and surveyed them over 1.5 years to answer the following questions: i) does baiting latrines with Desman faeces from elsewhere affect their use? ii) does latrine use vary over the year and across the valley? Baiting latrines with faeces reduced their use frequency. The use of latrines showed minor variations across time and space and was not affected by extreme weather effects. Comparisons with simultaneous trapping campaigns show latrines to be more efficient than nases at detecting Desmans and suggest that frequency of latrine utilization could be used as an indicator of Desman abundance.
We thank Iñaki Uranga (City Council of San Sebastian) and the rangers of Artikutza, for their assistance in making this work possible.
This study was funded by the Basque Government (IT951-16 and IT1471-22).
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