We studied dispersal and breeding patterns in a solitary gerbil, Meriones tamariscinus, from 1995 to 1999 in Kalmykia, southern Russia. The females of this species delay breeding far beyond the age of maturation. We suggest that delayed breeding in young females is associated with delayed emigration from the natal site. Most young female M. tamariscinus showed strong natal philopatry that resulted in female kin clustering. Proximity to adult females suppressed their maturation and restricted breeding opportunities. Breeding rate of young females correlated negatively with the survival rate of adult females. Therefore, dispersal and breeding patterns in this solitary species appear similar to those in social (group living) species of gerbils. Results are discussed in terms of ecological, demographic, and life-history traits of this species that set constraints on dispersal and breeding in young females.
|Number of pages||8|
|Journal||Journal of Mammalogy|
|Publication status||Published - Feb 2004|
- Delayed breeding
- Delayed dispersal
- Meriones tamariscinus
- Natal philopatry