The terrestrial mammals of Mozambique: Integrating dispersed biodiversity data
Keywords:Mammalia;, primary biodiveristy data;, checklist;, Mozambique;, conservation
Background: The most comprehensive synopsis of the mammal fauna of Mozambique was published in 1976, listing 190 species of terrestrial mammals. Up-to-date knowledge of the country’s biodiversity is crucial to establish the baseline information needed for conservation and management actions.
Objectives: The aim of this article was to present a list of terrestrial mammal species reported from Mozambique, based on primary occurrence data.
Method: We integrated existing knowledge, from dispersed sources of biodiversity data: the Global Biodiversity Information Facility portal, natural history collections, survey reports and literature. Data were updated and manually curated. However, none of the specimens upon which occurrences are based was directly observed. To partly overcome this impediment, we developed a species selection process for specimen data. This process produced the country’s species checklist and an additional list of species with questionable occurrence in the country.
Results: From the digital and non-digital sources, we compiled more than 17 000 records. The data integrated resulted in a total of 217 mammal species (representing 14 orders, 39 families and 133 genera) with supported occurrence in Mozambique and 23 species with questionable reported occurrence in the country.
Conclusion: The diversity of species accounted for is considerable as more than 70% of species present in the southern African subregion are found in Mozambique. We consider that the current number of mammal species in Mozambique is still underestimated. The methodological approach for species selection for specimen data can be adapted to update species checklists of crucial importance to countries facing similar lack of knowledge regarding their biodiversity.