Dispersal, which is a crucial process in animal population and evolutionary ecology, is considered personality dependent. The fitness consequences of dispersal are important. However, they are difficult and rarely measured in wild populations. In this study, we investigated the behaviour and reproductive fitness in a plateau pika (Ochotona curzoniae) population for two continuous years through mark–recapture experiment, behavioural tests and microsatellite analysis of parentage. Our results determined that around 53.8% males and 16.7% females dispersed to 40.3 and 28.2 m away from their natal family, respectively. The aggression (attack frequency and duration) of philopatric individuals was significantly higher than that of dispersed ones, although significant differences in boldness did not exist between them. For both males and females, the offspring number of philopatric pikas was significantly higher than that of dispersed ones. This result indicated that inbreeding may occur in plateau pikas. Our findings highlighted the importance of integrating behavioural, ecological and genetic analyses to explore the mechanism of dispersal. The findings also suggested that personality may play an important role in life history.
Acta Theriologica – Springer Journals
Published: Dec 4, 2017
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