Sex-biased dispersal in eastern chipmunks, Tamias striatus

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I investigated the effect of male mate competition and inbreeding avoidance on natal dispersal of chipmunks by longitudinally monitoring known individuals from 1986 to 1990. Natal males exhibited greater absolute and effective dispersal distances but dispersed at the same proportion as natal females. Recruitment of juvenile males was negatively affected by density of resident males, but there was no evidence of local mate competition among male kin. Analysis of the spatial distribution of neighbors showed that natal males settled farther from their mothers than did their female siblings and farther than unrelated juvenile males. In addition, mothers apparently tolerated daughters as close neighbors and occasionally shared den sites with grandprogeny. Sexually mature males were never neighbors of their mothers and were never observed at maternal mating bouts. Males may disperse to improve reproductive opportunities by avoiding competition with resident males, and by increasing access to unrelated females. Maternal tolerance of daughters but not sons may result in the close affiliation between mothers and daughters, and indirectly contribute to dispersal of natal males. Hence male-biased dispersal could be a consequence of mate competition and maternal avoidance of incestuous matings.

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