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Seasonal Changes in Home-Range Area and Fidelity of Martens

David M. Phillips, Daniel J. Harrison, David C. Payer
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2307/1382853 180-190 First published online: 20 February 1998

Abstract

We evaluated seasonal variation in home-range area and documented the extent of home-range fidelity among seasons for nonjuvenile (≥1 year) male and female martens (Martes americana) in a forest preserve that was closed to trapping. Indices of home-range area were not different between early (1 November–31 December) and late winter (1 January–31 March) for either sex (P > 0.52). Further, home-range area and indices to home-range area of males and females did not differ (P > 0.27) between summer and winter, suggesting that martens responded to changing seasonal conditions at scales smaller than the home range. The proportion of males maintaining residency throughout the period monitored was higher (P = 0.02) than that of females, indicating that home ranges of females were more dynamic than home ranges of males among seasons. Five resident females abandoned their home-ranges, despite two of the females having previously lactated. For martens that maintained resident status for consecutive seasons, a median of 71% of radio locations of 37 males and 83% of radio locations of 14 females occurred within the home range of the previous season. Neither males or females adjusted the size of their home ranges among seasons; however, males tended to shift location of their home ranges in response to increases in available space. In contrast to males, females either maintained a high degree of fidelity among seasons without shifting location of their home range, or completely abandoned previously established home ranges. Spacing systems of female martens appear more rigid than those of males. Abandonment of existing home ranges by some females may result from stresses associated with high density in untrapped populations.

Key words
  • Martes americana
  • fidelity
  • home range
  • seasonal
  • spacing
  • social organization