n African Zoology - Does home range of the black-tailed tree rat ( Thomas 1882) change with season along an aridity gradient?

Volume 45, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X
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Home-range size may reflect the physiological state and energetic requirements of an individual. In the black-tailed tree rat () we expected differences in the home-range size of populations in habitats of differing productivity, as measured along an aridity gradient, and between seasons.We studied the variations in home-range size of black-tailed tree rats by radiotracking in winter 2006, 2007 and summer 2007 at three study sites along an aridity gradient in southern Africa. Home ranges were estimated using 100% and 95% minimum convex polygons (MCP) and 95% and 50% fixed kernels. Home ranges varied widely, from 166 to 80 199m2 for males and from 46 to 8810m2 for females. Males had larger home ranges than females, which supports a promiscuous mating system reported for the species. Although range size was reduced in both sexes in winter, this was not significant.We found no significant difference in home-range size along the aridity gradient. It is suggested that a combination of habitat productivity, season and breeding system influences the size of home range and that this species displays phenotypic flexibility in terms of its behavioural responses to these factors.

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