SPATIAL-ORGANIZATION AND MATING SYSTEM OF MICROTUS-TOWNSENDII

X LAMBIN, C J KREBS

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

53 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Space use by individual Townsend's voles, Microtus townsendii, was investigated in spring and summer by means of radiotelemetry and intensive live trapping in undisturbed grasslands near Vancouver, British Columbia. Home ranges of males were larger than those of females; females had significantly larger ranges in spring than in summer. Most males and females maintained territories free of individuals of the same sex in spring. Male-female pairs had their exclusive territories closely overlapping each other. The 1:1 operational sex ratio and the spatial association of pairs of males and females suggest that the voles were monogamous in the spring of 1988 and that 50% of the males were monogamous in the spring of 1989. In summer, there was more intrasexual overlap between home ranges of males and females and female ranges were considerably smaller than those of males. Females were more philopatric than males and females thought to be members of the same family group lived adjacent to each other or had overlapping home ranges. Males overlapped with more than one female in summer, but most females still overlapped with only one male, which suggests that the mating system is polygynous in summer. Thirty-five percent of the philopatric females became pregnant for the first time when the male spatially associated with their mother in the spring was still alive and thus could potentially have mated with their fathers. Male and female territoriality in spring is the proximate mechanism for the limitation of breeding density by spacing behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-363
Number of pages11
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Volume28
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1991

Keywords

  • CLETHRIONOMYS-RUFOCANUS-BEDFORDIAE
  • SMALL RODENT POPULATIONS
  • HIGH-DENSITY POPULATION
  • RED-BACKED VOLE
  • MEADOW VOLES
  • SOCIAL-ORGANIZATION
  • BOTFLY PARASITISM
  • SPRING POPULATION
  • SPACING BEHAVIOR
  • BREEDING DENSITY

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