Seasonal variation in space use and territoriality in a large mammal (Sus scrofa)

Peter E. Schlichting, Raoul K. Boughton, Wes Anderson, Bethany Wight, Kurt C. VerCauteren, Ryan S. Miller, Jesse S. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

An individual’s spatial behavior is shaped by social and environmental factors and provides critical information about population processes to inform conservation and management actions. Heterogeneity in spatial overlap among conspecifics can be evaluated using estimates of home ranges and core areas and used to understand factors influencing space use and territoriality. To understand and test predictions about spatial behavior in an invasive large mammal, the wild pig (Sus scrofa), we examined variation in space use between sexes and seasons. We predicted that if animals were territorial that there would be a reduction in space-use overlap when comparing overlap of home ranges (HR–HR), to home ranges and core areas (HR–CA), and in-turn between core areas (CA–CA). Home ranges and core areas were estimated for 54 wild pigs at Buck Island Ranch, FL from GPS telemetry data. Overlap indices were calculated to estimate the strength (space-use overlap) and number of potential interactions within three wet seasons (June–October) and two dry seasons (December–April). Among sexes, home range size did not vary seasonally, and males exhibited larger home ranges compared to females (M = 10.36 ± 0.79 km2 (± SE), F = 3.21 ± 0.16 km2). Strength of overlap varied by season with wild pig home ranges overlapping more during the dry season. Males interacted with a greater number of individuals of both sexes, compared to females, and exhibited greater strength of overlap during the dry season. Consistent with our predictions, wild pigs appeared to exhibit territorial behavior, where strength of overlap decreased when comparing HR–HR to HR–CA and HR–CA to CA–CA. Our framework can be used to understand patterns of space use and territoriality in populations, which has important implications in understanding intraspecific interactions and population processes, such as how pathogens and parasites might spread within and among populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4023
JournalScientific reports
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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