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Natal habitat-biased dispersal in the Siberian flying squirrel

By Vesa Selonen, Ilpo K Hanski and André Desrochers


Theoretically, dispersers should target the habitat where prospects for fitness will be highest. Aiming for a habitat similar to the natal area (natal habitat-biased dispersal) has been hypothesized as a probable rule of thumb for dispersers, but has received very little empirical support to date. We investigated similarities between natal and post-dispersal settlement sites with radio-collared Siberian flying squirrels (Pteromys volans L.). Juveniles born in small patches and raised in nests close to patch edge settled in small patches and used nests close to edges after dispersal. In addition, post-dispersal use of dreys (versus cavities) was similar to that observed in natal sites. However, the quality of settlement habitat was unrelated to the quality of the natal site, which suggests that natal experience on average-quality habitats may not lead to ecological traps for flying squirrels. This study provides evidence that habitat selection at the landscape scale is influenced by habitat of natal area

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: The Royal Society
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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