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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 19, 2014

Ecology of the forest dormouse Dryomys nitedula (Pallas 1778) on the north-western edge of its distributional range

  • Rimvydas Juškaitis EMAIL logo
From the journal Mammalia


From 1999 to 2013, a long-term capture-mark-recapture study was carried out in a local population of the forest dormouse, Dryomys nitedula, in a mixed forest patch surrounded by unsuitable habitat in Lithuania. Many aspects of this population’s ecology are different from those situated elsewhere. In the population, the activity period of D. nitedula was the shortest in the entire range (about 4.5 months, late April to early September). Breeding season was early and short, most litters were born in early June, and the average litter size (3.2±1.1 young) was very small. The average densities of the local population were 4.5±1 and 6.7±2.1 ind./10 ha after and before hibernation, respectively. The abundance of the local population was stable, and the sex ratio was approaching 1:1 among adult individuals, except in the first years of the study when abundance was higher than usual and the sex ratio was female-biased. One-year-old dormice comprised about 49% of the population, while 2-, 3-, and 4-year-olds and older accounted for 24%, 14% and 13%, respectively. Maximum life span was 6 years in one female and maximum body weight recorded before hibernation was 57.5 g in an adult male.

Corresponding author: Rimvydas Juškaitis, Institute of Ecology, Nature Research Centre, Akademijos 2, LT-08412 Vilnius, Lithuania, e-mail:


This research was funded by the European Social Fund under the Global Grant measure (Grant No. VP1-3.1-ŠMM-07-K-01-026). Peter Adamík, Vita Šiožinytė, and an anonymous reviewer made valuable comments and suggestions on earlier versions of the manuscript. Linas Balčiauskas and Gintautas Vaitonis helped in the preparation of figures. Jos Stratford revised the English language used in the manuscript.


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Received: 2013-11-15
Accepted: 2014-2-23
Published Online: 2014-3-19
Published in Print: 2015-2-1

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