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Response of the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) to the transition between disturbed and undisturbed habitats

Linzey, Alicia V.
Canadian journal of zoology 1989 v.67 no.2 pp. 505-512
Peromyscus leucopus, clearcutting, ecotones, females, habitat destruction, habitats, home range, juveniles, males, mice, social behavior, sociodemographic characteristics, woodlands
The relationship between social behavior, demography, and habitat selection in the white-footed mouse (Peromyscus leucopus) was studied at the transition zone between disturbed (clear-cutting and strip-mine) and undisturbed (woodland) habitats. Demographic characteristics included a tendency toward overrepresentation of young mice (juvenile and subadults) in disturbed habitats and higher disappearance rates for young woodland males than for females. Home range data indicated that movements between habitats were minimal and mostly restricted to the ecotone. Behavioral interaction studies revealed that woodland mice were more likely to initiate contact and that mice from the clear-cutting responded by retreating or fleeing. During a reciprocal removal experiment, 43% of the resident population of the clear-cutting moved to woodland habitat after the original woodland population had been removed; no residents of woodland habitat moved to a disturbed site following removal. The suggestion that disturbed habitats serve as dispersal sinks for behaviorally subordinate individuals is supported by these data.