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Mammalia

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Volume 82, Issue 1

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Home-range size of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris): a report from two areas in Central Italy

Stefano Anile
  • Corresponding author
  • Dipartimento di Biologia Animale ‘Marcello La Greca’, Università di Catania, Catania, Italy
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/ Lolita Bizzarri
  • Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
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/ Moreno Lacrimini
  • Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
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/ Andrea Sforzi / Bernardino Ragni
  • Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Perugia, Perugia, Italy
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/ Sebastien Devillard
  • Laboratoire de Biométrie et Biologie Evolutive, Université Lyon 1, CNRS, UMR5558, F-69622, Villeurbanne, France
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Published Online: 2017-03-02 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0045

Abstract

Although the behavioural ecology of the European wildcat (Felis silvestris silvestris) has been studied in several European countries, its home-range size is still poorly known due to elusive behaviour of the species living in typically low population densities. In our study, 11 wildcats from two distinct areas, the Maremma Regional Park (Tuscany; 3 males and 1 female) and the Paradiso di Pianciano Estate (Umbria; 6 males and 1 female), both located in Central Italy, were studied by means of classical VHF radio-tracking. Home ranges were calculated by means of the Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM). Variables significantly affecting home-range size were: study area, gender and the interaction between gender*age. The potential effect of the reproductive season and the nocturnal period was not supported. The main findings indicate that: (1) home-range sizes in Tuscany were larger than those in Umbria; (2) home-range size was positively related to the age of individuals; (3) males exploited larger home ranges than females in all age-classes except for the sub-adult age-class; this latter pattern has never emerged from any previous wildcat radio-telemetry study. Population density, different management regimes in the areas considered and the local abundance of prey may explain differences in home-range sizes between the study areas. The estimated home ranges of wildcats in Umbria were slightly larger than those reported across Europe, while those calculated in the Tuscan study area were significantly greater.

This article offers supplementary material which is provided at the end of the article.

Keywords: Brownian bridge movement model (BBMM); European wildcat; general additive mixed model (GAMM); home-range; Italy; radio-tracking

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About the article

Received: 2016-04-10

Accepted: 2017-01-17

Published Online: 2017-03-02

Published in Print: 2017-12-20


Citation Information: Mammalia, Volume 82, Issue 1, Pages 1–11, ISSN (Online) 1864-1547, ISSN (Print) 0025-1461, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/mammalia-2016-0045.

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