Despotic distribution in female fallow deer (Dama dama) groups
Sammanfattning: In a fallow deer population in south western Sweden was female group size and group composition estimated. A possible rank order between female groups and the effects of this was also investigated. By using GPS-position from 11 marked females was home range size, preferred habitats and distance to preferred habitats determined and tested for relationship to rank order. Mean female home range size was 2.92km2 and preferred habitats were "Arable land", "Broad-leaved forest not on mire or open bedrock", and "Younger forest". Mean group size in mainly open areas was 72 individuals. Represented by the marked females there was a rank order found between female groups, and each marked female included in the rank study received a unique rank. There was a negative relationship between rank and home range size, the higher rank a female group did possess the smaller home range did it kept. Thus a high ranked group may not need to move over large areas to satisfy its requirements. This would mean less time to search for food and more time to forage and therefore an increased fitness. Further there was also a negative relationship between rank and area of preferred habitat, as high ranked female group kept a smaller area of the preferred habitats "Broad-leaved forest" and "Younger forest". This is related to a small home range that consists of smaller areas of preferred habitat in the same way a large home range consist of larger areas preferred habitat. This will however not mean that the low ranked group that keeps a large home range and large areas of preferred habitat always has access to all preferred habitats. Rather it is probably restricted at certain times by other groups with higher rank to one or several of these preferred areas and thus requires larger areas to alternate between. Finally, mean distance from home range centre to preferred habitat was smaller if the group had a higher rank. This is also related to the fact of a small home range in a high ranked group, where the distance to most habitats is shorter than in large home ranges as for a low ranked group.
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