Behavioral and spatial analysis of extraterritorial movements in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes)

Soulsbury, Carl D., Iossa, Graziella, Baker, Philip J. , White, Piran C. L. and Harris, Stephen (2011) Behavioral and spatial analysis of extraterritorial movements in red foxes (Vulpes vulpes). Journal of Mammalogy, 92 (1). pp. 190-199. ISSN 0022-2372

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Movements away from the natal or home territory are important to many ecological processes, including gene
flow, population regulation, and disease epidemiology, yet quantitative data on these behaviors are lacking. Red
foxes exhibit 2 periods of extraterritorial movements: when an individual disperses and when males search
neighboring territories for extrapair copulations during the breeding season. Using radiotracking data collected
at 5-min interfix intervals, we compared movement parameters, including distance moved, speed of movement,
and turning angles, of dispersal and reproductive movements to those made during normal territorial
movements; the instantaneous separation distances of dispersing and extraterritorial movements to the
movements of resident adults; and the frequency of locations of 95%, 60%, and 30% harmonic mean isopleths
of adult fox home territories to randomly generated fox movements. Foxes making reproductive movements
traveled farther than when undertaking other types of movement, and dispersal movements were straighter.
Reproductive and dispersal movements were faster than territorial movements and also differed in intensity of
search and thoroughness. Foxes making dispersal movements avoided direct contact with territorial adults and
moved through peripheral areas of territories. The converse was true for reproductive movements. Although
similar in some basic characteristics, dispersal and reproductive movements are fundamentally different both
behaviorally and spatially and are likely to have different ultimate purposes and contrasting effects on spatial
processes such as disease transmission.

Keywords:red fox, dispersal, reproductive movements, contact rates, disease transmission
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:6408
Deposited On:03 Oct 2012 15:16

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