The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Field test for environmental correlates of dispersal in hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus

Field test for environmental correlates of dispersal in hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus
Field test for environmental correlates of dispersal in hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus
1. We report a field experiment designed to explore the responses by hedgehogs to novel and unfavourable terrain, which they encounter when dispersing between fragmented local populations in farmland. We identified four replicate sites as unused by hedgehogs, but lying between existing populations and containing locally abundant food. At each site, we released six hedgehogs from distant sources at 2-day intervals and monitored their subsequent dispersals over 20 days by radio-tracking. We compared movement trajectories under this treatment to those of 29 hedgehogs released at two sites known to support abundant hedgehogs. A third treatment comprised 20 unmanipulated hedgehogs at three sites. We estimated habitat use and proximity to habitats by comparing each observed trajectory to simulated random walks of equal length. We sought differences between treatments in movement and habitat use from nested analysis of variance.
2. No two trajectories of any translocated hedgehogs followed the same route; most involved little change in body weight, and took the animal into or through existing populations. Hedgehogs moved substantially further and faster on average from the unfavourable than from the favourable sites. They showed a significantly stronger attraction to habitat edges, which therefore acted as corridors, and a significant proportion of them stayed closer to roads and to urban habitat than random expectation. Habitat preferences also shifted significantly towards urban and away from arable areas. Six were predated, and two killed by road traffic. At least three returned to their release point, with P < 0·05 of this occurring by chance.
3. In this region, natural dispersals between populations up to 4 km apart are rare events. We have shown, however, that hedgehogs are capable of travelling distances of up to 3·8 km from a release point, and up to 9·9 km in total, compared to an average home range span of 0·8 km, and it appears that none of the local populations in the study area are out of reach of neighbours.
emigration, habitat corridor, habitat fragmentation, monte carlo simulation, random walk
0021-8790
33-46
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Rondinini, Carlo
4df1c1cd-fe44-4078-abf8-19033abc2e40
Johnson, Paul C.D.
17c3b7db-f866-470e-a5dd-622f4e4ef4b5
Doncaster, C. Patrick
0eff2f42-fa0a-4e35-b6ac-475ad3482047
Rondinini, Carlo
4df1c1cd-fe44-4078-abf8-19033abc2e40
Johnson, Paul C.D.
17c3b7db-f866-470e-a5dd-622f4e4ef4b5

Doncaster, C. Patrick, Rondinini, Carlo and Johnson, Paul C.D. (2001) Field test for environmental correlates of dispersal in hedgehogs Erinaceus europaeus. Journal of Animal Ecology, 70 (1), 33-46. (doi:10.1111/j.1365-2656.2001.00471.x).

Record type: Article

Abstract

1. We report a field experiment designed to explore the responses by hedgehogs to novel and unfavourable terrain, which they encounter when dispersing between fragmented local populations in farmland. We identified four replicate sites as unused by hedgehogs, but lying between existing populations and containing locally abundant food. At each site, we released six hedgehogs from distant sources at 2-day intervals and monitored their subsequent dispersals over 20 days by radio-tracking. We compared movement trajectories under this treatment to those of 29 hedgehogs released at two sites known to support abundant hedgehogs. A third treatment comprised 20 unmanipulated hedgehogs at three sites. We estimated habitat use and proximity to habitats by comparing each observed trajectory to simulated random walks of equal length. We sought differences between treatments in movement and habitat use from nested analysis of variance.
2. No two trajectories of any translocated hedgehogs followed the same route; most involved little change in body weight, and took the animal into or through existing populations. Hedgehogs moved substantially further and faster on average from the unfavourable than from the favourable sites. They showed a significantly stronger attraction to habitat edges, which therefore acted as corridors, and a significant proportion of them stayed closer to roads and to urban habitat than random expectation. Habitat preferences also shifted significantly towards urban and away from arable areas. Six were predated, and two killed by road traffic. At least three returned to their release point, with P < 0·05 of this occurring by chance.
3. In this region, natural dispersals between populations up to 4 km apart are rare events. We have shown, however, that hedgehogs are capable of travelling distances of up to 3·8 km from a release point, and up to 9·9 km in total, compared to an average home range span of 0·8 km, and it appears that none of the local populations in the study area are out of reach of neighbours.

Text
Doncaster_et_al_2001_JAE.pdf - Version of Record
Restricted to Repository staff only
Request a copy

More information

Published date: January 2001
Keywords: emigration, habitat corridor, habitat fragmentation, monte carlo simulation, random walk

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 35513
URI: https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/35513
ISSN: 0021-8790
PURE UUID: 2aa017df-4890-4569-9522-cc83a5e15402
ORCID for C. Patrick Doncaster: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0001-9406-0693

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 17 May 2006
Last modified: 20 Jul 2019 01:18

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Carlo Rondinini
Author: Paul C.D. Johnson

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of https://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×