Acta Theriologica

, Volume 52, Issue 4, pp 339–348 | Cite as

Long-distance movements of individuals in a free-living bank vole population: an important element of male breeding strategy

  • Michał Kozakiewicz
  • Agnieszka Chołuj
  • Anna Kozakiewicz


The experiment involved two stages: the first one consisted of studying the dynamics of long-distance movements and the characteristics of moving individuals in a free-living population of bank voles and the second one — of an analysis of paternity of young individuals born to females representing specific breeding colonies (basing on an analysis of six microsatellite fragments). The study has shown that both male and female bank voles are capable of covering long distances of up to almost 1 km. Males moved significantly more frequently than females. The proportion of travelling males was the highest in spring and the lowest in autumn. Almost all moving males were adult and they were sexually active. Almost all moving females were adult, however, the majority of them were sexually inactive. This indicates that the character and causes of long-distance movements of females and males differ. Female movements are supposed to be related to the search for living and breeding grounds by young, already adult individuals, driven out from their mothers’ territory. Multiple paternity occurred in 25% of all litters analysed. Young whose fathers were males from outside of their mother’s breeding colonies occurred in litters throughout the whole breeding season. They made up 59% of all young analysed and in the spring (June) all the young animals were born to fathers originating outside of the female’s breeding colony. The results obtained may confirm the hypothesis that long-distance movements of male bank voles constitute a part of their breeding strategy, involving them in searching for breeding partners over an extensive area.

Key words

bank vole Myodes (=Clethrionomys)glareolus breeding strategy long-distance movements dispersal multiple paternity 


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Copyright information

© Mammal Research Institute, Bialowieza, Poland 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michał Kozakiewicz
    • 1
  • Agnieszka Chołuj
    • 1
  • Anna Kozakiewicz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EcologyUniversity of WarsawWarsawPoland

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