Mysterud, A. 1998: Large male territories in a low-density population of roe deer Capreolus capreolus with small female home ranges. - Wildl. Biol. 4: 231-235.
Two hypotheses regarding roe deer spacing in low-density areas during the breeding season are: 1) that male territory size is equal to that of the female home range size or 2) that male territory size is larger than the female home range. I tested the two hypotheses using data on the home range sizes of nine female, and the territory sizes of 12 male roe deer radio-tracked during the summers of 1994-1996 in the Lier valley, southern Norway. There was no support for hypothesis 1, as male territory size was 1.5-1.9 times larger than female home ranges after correcting for altitude. Contradictory results in the literature regarding the effect of density on male roe deer territory size suggest that density alone does not satisfactorily predict roe deer spacing. I present the female dispersion hypothesis which presumes that as the area occupied by females decreases (due to high resource levels), the cost-effectiveness of male territoriality increases. Thus, the territory size of roe deer males, relative to female home range size, is expected to be largest when females are divided into local spatial units and female home range is relatively small. Comparative observations in two low-density populations seem to support this hypothesis.
Key words: Capreolus capreolus, home range, mating system, roe deer, social organisation, territoriality
Atle Mysterud, Department of Biology, Division of Zoology, University of Oslo, P.O. Box 1050 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway - e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Received 21 July 1997, accepted 13 March 1998
Associate Editor: Jean-Michel Gaillard