Skip to main content

The influence of high nestbox density on the common dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius population

Abstract

The response of common dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius Linnaeus, 1758 population to availability of nest sites was studied by manipulating the nestbox grid and ring-marking dormice. Abundance of adult dormice more than doubled in the 25 × 25 m nestbox grid in comparison to the 50 × 50 m grid, as a result of increased nestbox density from four to 16 boxes/ha. This effect already became apparent in the first year after additional nestboxes were made available and resulted from dormouse immigration, mostly from adjacent areas without nestboxes. In the second and third years, the number of two-year-old and older resident dormice, which had their home ranges in this plot, increased considerably. The average size of dormouse home range decreased by approximately half both in males and females in the 25 × 25 m grid compared to the 50 × 50 m grid. The proportion of breeding adult females did not differ between the two grids in spite of different adult dormouse density. Shortage of secure nest sites was a limiting factor for the common dormouse population abundance in the forest where natural tree hollows were absent, and high nestbox density increased environmental carrying capacity.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Berg L. 1997. Spatial distribution and habitat selection of the hazel dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius in Sweden. Licentiate dissertation, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala: 1–76.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Berg L. and Berg A. 1998. Nest site selection by the dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius in two different landscapes. Annales Zoologici Fennici 35: 115–122.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Brady M. J., Risch T. S. and Dobson F. S. 2000. Availability of nest sites does not limit population size of southern flying squirels. Canadian Journal of Zoology 78: 1144–1149.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 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.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Büchner S., Stubbe M. and Striese D. 2003. Breeding and biological data for the common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) in eastern Saxony (Germany). Acta Zoologica Academiae Scientiarum Hungaricae 49 (Suppl. 1): 19–26.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Flowerdew J. R. 1976. Ecological methods. Mammal Review 6: 123–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Foppen R., Verheggen L. and Boonman M. 2002. Biology, status and conservation of the hazel dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius) in the Netherlands. Lutra 45: 147–154.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Hurrell E. and MacIntosh G. 1984. Mammal Society dormouse survey, January 1975 — April 1979. Mammal Review 14: 1–18.

    Article  Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

  13. Juškaitis R. 1997b. Use of nestboxes by the common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) in Lithuania. Natura Croatica 6: 177–188.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Juškaitis R. 2001. Weight changes of the common dormouse (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) during the year in Lithuania. Trakya University Journal of Scientific Research, series B, 2: 79–83.

    Google Scholar 

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

    Google Scholar 

  16. Juškaitis R. 2003b. Breeding by young-of-the-year females in common dormouse,Muscardinus avellanarius, populations in Lithuania. Annales Zoologici Fennici 40: 529–535.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Juškaitis R. 2003c. Late breeding in two common dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius populations. Mammalian Biology 68: 244–249.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Laar V. van 1979. Summer nests of the hazel dormouse in north-eastern France. Acta Theriologica 24: 517–521.

    Google Scholar 

  19. Likhachev G. N. 1967a. [Occupation of nestboxes by the common dormouse]. [In: Ecology of mammals and birds. K. V. Arnoldi, ed]. Nauka, Moscow: 67–79. [In Russian]

    Google Scholar 

  20. Likhachev G. N. 1967b. [Territorial distribution of the common dormouse]. [In: Ecology of mammals and birds. K. V. Arnoldi, ed]. Nauka, Moscow: 79–90. [In Russian]

    Google Scholar 

  21. Manville R. H. 1949. A study of small mammal populations in Northern Michigan. Miscellaneous publications Museum of Zoology University of Michigan 73: 1–85.

    Google Scholar 

  22. Morris P. A., Bright P. W. and Woods D. 1990. Use of nestboxes by the dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius. Biological Conservation 51: 1–13.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Pielowski Z. and Wasilewski A. 1960. Haselmäuse in Vogelnistkästen. Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde 25: 74–80.

    Google Scholar 

  24. Samuel M. D. and Fuller M. R. 1994. Wildlife radiotelemetry. [In: Research and management techniques for wildlife and habitats. T. A. Bookhout, ed]. The Wildlife Society Bethesda, Maryland: 370–418.

    Google Scholar 

  25. Sara M., Casamento G. and Spinato A. 2001. Density and breeding ofMuscardinus avellanarius L. 1758 in woodlands of Sicily. Trakya University Journal of Scientific Research, series B, 2: 85–93.

    Google Scholar 

  26. Schulze W. 1986. Zum Vorkommen und zur Biologie von Haselmaus (Muscardinus avellanarius L.) und Siebenschläfer (Glis glis L.) in Vogelkästen im Südharz der DDR. Säugetierkundliche Informationen 2: 341–348.

    Google Scholar 

  27. Sorace A., Bellavita M. and Amori G. 1999. Seasonal differences in nest-boxes occupation by the dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius L. (Rodentia, Myoxidae) in two areas of Central Italy. Ecologia Mediterranea 25: 125–130.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Wachtendorf W. 1951. Beiträge zur Ökologie und Biology der Haselmaus (Muscardinus avellanarius) im Alpenvorland. Zoologisches Jahrbuch, Abteilung Systematik 80: 189–204.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Additional information

Associate Editor was Krzysztof Schmidt.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Juškaitis, R. The influence of high nestbox density on the common dormouseMuscardinus avellanarius population. Acta Theriol 50, 43–50 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03192617

Download citation

Key words

  • Muscardinus avellanarius
  • nestboxes
  • population density
  • home range
  • breeding