Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Dispersal of common dormiceMuscardinus avellanarius in a habitat mosaic


In the eastern part of Saxony (Germany), common dormiceMuscardinus avellanarius (Linnaeus, 1758) were found in very small woods (average area of 10 woods was 2.9 ± 1.4 ha) isolated within agricultural fields for more than 100 years (average distance to the next, larger wood 268 ± 84 m). Dormice reproduced even in wood islands smaller than two hectares. Altogether 6 marked dormice were recorded migrating across the open landscape. Of these, 5 were juveniles. Minimum and maximum distances in treeless areas between points of capture and recapture were 250 and 500 m respectively. These migrations over open ground seem to be rare but normal events and explain the presence of common dormice in very small patches of woodland in habitat mosaics.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bright P. W. 1998. Behaviour of specialist species in habitat corridors: arboreal dormice avoid corridor gaps. Animal Behaviour 56: 1485–1490.

  2. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 1989. A practical guide to dormouse conservation. Occasional publication no. 11. The Mammal Society, London: 1–31.

  3. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 1990. Habitat requirements of dormiceMuscardinus avellanarius in relation to woodland management in south west England. Biological Conservation 54: 307–326.

  4. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 1991. Ranging and nesting behaviour of the dormouse,Muscardinus avellanarius, in diverse low-growing woodland. Journal of Zoology, London 224: 177–190.

  5. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 1992. Ranging and nesting behaviour of the dormouse,Muscardinus avellanarius, in coppice-with-standards woodland. Journal of Zoology, London 226: 589–600.

  6. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 1996. Why are dormice rare? A case study in conservation biology. Mammal Review 26: 157–187.

  7. Bright P. W. and Morris P. A. 2005. The dormouse. 2nd edition. The Mammal Society, London: 1–27.

  8. Bright P. W., Mitchel P. and Morris P. A. 1994. Dormouse distribution: survey techniques, insular ecology and selection of sites for conservation. Journal of Applied Ecology 31: 329–339.

  9. Bright P. W., Morris P. A. and Mitchell-Jones T. 2006. The Dormouse Conservation Handbook. Second Edition. English Nature, Peterborourgh: 1–76.

  10. Büchner S. 1997. Common dormice in small isolated woods. Natura Croatica 6: 271–274.

  11. Capizzi D., Battistini M. and Amori G. 2002. Analysis of the hazel dormouse,Muscardinus avellanarius, distribution in a Mediterranean fragmented woodland. Italian Journal of Zoology 69: 25–31.

  12. Herr O. 1942. Aus Natur und Museum. Abhandlungen der Naturforschenden Gesellschaft Görlitz 33: 131–171.

  13. Juškaitis R. 1997. Ranging and movement of the common dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius in Lithuania. Acta Theriologica 42: 113–122.

  14. Juškaitis R. 2003. Abundance dynamics and reproduction success in the common dormouse,Muscardinus avellanarius, populations in Lithuania. Folia Zoologica 52: 239–248.

  15. Schulze W. 1987. Zur Mobilität der Haselmaus (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) im Südharz. Säugetierkundliche Informationen 11: 485–488.

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Sven Büchner.

Additional information

Associate editor was Magdalena Niedziałkowska.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Büchner, S. Dispersal of common dormiceMuscardinus avellanarius in a habitat mosaic. Acta Theriol 53, 259–262 (2008).

Download citation

Key words

  • Muscardinus avellanarius
  • fragmentation
  • migration