The influence of conspecific and heterospecific residents on colonization.

B. J. Danielson, M. S. Gaines

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


To determine if dispersing prairie voles Microtus ochrogaster are prevented from establishing home ranges in habitat already occupied by conspecifics or potentially competitive species, voles were introduced into enclosed populations of: the same species; southern bog lemmings, Synaptomys cooperi; cotton rats, Sigmodon hispidus; or an empty enclosure. Colonization by dispersing voles was negatively affected by resident conspecifics. Introduced females were more strongly affected than males during the vegetative growing season but not during the nongrowing season when reproductive activity is typically low. Resident bog lemmings also negatively affected colonization by dispersing voles, but both sexes of introduced voles were similarly affected in both seasons. Interspecific competition does not appear to occur between established resident individuals. Cotton rats, only recently a part of the small mammal community in Kansas, did not adversely affect colonization by dispersing voles or have adverse post-colonization effect on their survival and reproduction. The ability of residents to inhibit colonization by another species may facilitate the coexistence of M. ochrogaster and Synaptomys cooperi by retarding the competitive exclusion of either species until annual fluctuations in reproduction and density create an abundance of suitable but unoccupied space.-from Authors

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1778-1784
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jan 1 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics


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