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Natal dispersal correlates with behavioral traits that are not consistent across early life stages


  • Katrine S. Hoset
  • Anne-Laure Ferchaud
  • Florence Dufour
  • Danielle Mersch
  • Julien Cote
  • Jean-François Le Galliard


Behavioral differences between dispersers and residents have long been recognized in animal species, but it remains unclear whether these dispersal syndromes represent consistent differences over time and in different contexts (i.e., personalities) or short-term changes in behavior during dispersal. We analyzed interindividual differences in sociability (attraction to unfamiliar adult males or females), exploration, and locomotor activity in disperser and resident root voles, Microtus oeconomus. We recorded these behavioral traits in 50 animals before weaning, around weaning age but before dispersal, and after a dispersal test in the field. Dispersing root voles displayed marked social behavior at the youngest age, being more attracted to unfamiliar adult males than residents. Dispersers were also, on average, faster explorers and were more active than residents. However, the observed variation between individuals in terms of social, exploration, and activity behaviors was not consistent over early life stages. These data indicate that behavioral differences between dispersers and residents may be only temporary in some species. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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  • Katrine S. Hoset & Anne-Laure Ferchaud & Florence Dufour & Danielle Mersch & Julien Cote & Jean-François Le Galliard, 2011. "Natal dispersal correlates with behavioral traits that are not consistent across early life stages," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(1), pages 176-183.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:176-183

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Bates, Douglas & Mächler, Martin & Bolker, Ben & Walker, Steve, 2015. "Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 67(i01).
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