Some muroid rodents may be essential ("keystone") species in maintaining the health of forests, through their role in spreading mycorrhizal fungi or dispersing seeds. Others affect the rate of forest succession by preying on tree seedlings. Some species are important pollinators. Others dig tunnels, and in doing so, create habitat for other species and aerate the soil. Many species are a vital food source for a wide range of predators, and muroids as a group support many different kinds of parasites, such as acari, siphonaptera, anoplura, sarcophagidae, nematoda, Cestoda, and trypanosomes. Finally, a few muroid species are commensal with humans, inhabiting cities and towns and relying on human-produced waste to survive. (Johnson, Pauw, and Midgley, 2001; Manson, Ostfeld, and Canham, 2001; Roberts, Janovy, and Jr, 2000; Zhang, Zhang, and Liu, 2003)
Ecosystem Impact: Disperses seeds; Pollinates; Creates habitat; Soil aeration; Keystone species
- Manson, R., R. Ostfeld, C. Canham. 2001. Long-term effects of rodent herbivores on tree invasion dynamics along forest-field edges. Ecology, 82 (12): 3320-3329.
- Johnson, S., A. Pauw, J. Midgley. 2001. Rodent pollination in the African lily Massonia depressa (Hyacinthaceae). American Journal of Botany, 88(10): 1768-1773.
- Roberts, L., J. Janovy, Jr. 2000. Foundations of Parasitology. New York: McGraw-Hill.
- Zhang, Y., Z. Zhang, J. Liu. 2003. Burrowing rodents as ecosystem engineers: the ecology and management of plateau zokors Myospalax fontanierii in alpine meadow ecosystems on the Tibetan Plateau. Mammal Review, 33(3): 284-294.