Non-volant mammalian species richness in the ecotonal Brazilian midnorth: checklist for Maranhão State


  • Odgley Quixaba Vieira Universidade Estadual do Maranhão, Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Biotecnologia da Amazônia Legal, Rede de Biodiversidade e Biotecnologia da Amazônia Legal
  • Tadeu Gomes de Oliveira Universidade Estadual do Maranhão


mammals, ecotone, biodiversity, endemism, Maranhão


Abstract: The state of Maranhão, located in the westernmost portion of the Northeast Region of Brazil, is characterized by a dynamic and unstable ecotone among the Amazon, Caatinga and Cerrado biomes that presents a high degree of biodiversity with high vulnerability to anthropogenic activities. Despite the enormous potential for sheltering high levels of species diversity and abundance, little is known about many aspects the state’s biodiversity, especially with regard to mammalian fauna. A capture-recapture methodology using live-traps was employed to inventory the non-volant, small mammal community. In addition, we recorded medium and large mammals based on direct and indirect observations, camera-trap surveys, and interviews. An extensive literature search of published research was also performed to maximize the elaboration of a complete mammal species checklist for Maranhão. A total of 89 non-volant mammal species, representing 9 orders and 27 families were recorded in the state of Maranhão. Of these taxa, 25.84% are included in the Brazilian Red List for endangered species, while 20 are considered as being endemic to Brazil. The preservation status of some areas, coupled with the strong presence of agro-pastoral environments, contributed to some unusual species occurrences, while the state’s ecotonal nature was noted by the numbers of species associated with the Amazon (N=65) and Cerrado (N=66) biomes.. Given the rapid development and effects of numerous anthropogenic impacts occurring in the state, it is a crucial time to quantify, even at specific scales, the environmental richness of Maranhão. The significant levels of biodiversity, high degree of endemism, and the presence of numerous rare and endangered species characterizes Maranhão as being among the most biologically important parts of Brazil. Nonetheless, many gaps in our basic knowledge regarding the biodiversity of this area remain, such that the execution of additional biological inventories is imperative, as are greater efforts to clarify certain species limits and necessary taxonomic revisions, most notably that for small mammals.




How to Cite

Vieira, O. Q., & Oliveira, T. G. de. (2020). Non-volant mammalian species richness in the ecotonal Brazilian midnorth: checklist for Maranhão State. Biota Neotropica, 20(2). Retrieved from //




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