Predictive distribution maps of rodent reservoir species of zoonoses in southern America

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We model potential distribution for three species of rodents known to be reservoirs of zoonotic diseases: Calomys musculinus, Oligoryzomys flavescens and O. longicaudatus.
These models provide general distribution hypotheses obtained using environmental data from record localities. Satellite remote sensing is then used to extrapolate climatic and
ecological features of potentially suitable habitats for these rodents. In the three species mapped, we found high overall correspondence between predicted (based on environmental data) and specimen based distributions. The maps proposed here provide several advantages over dot and shaded outline maps. First, the predictive maps incorporate geographically explicit predictions of potential distribution into the test. Second, the validity of the predictive map can be appreciated when localities of previous records of the studied species, not used as training sites or used as control sites, are overlaid on the map. In this approach, environmental factors, criteria and analytical techniques are explicit and can be easily verified. Hence, we can temporally fit data in more precise distribution maps.