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22 January 2021 Potential use of a magnetic compass during long-distance dispersal in a subterranean rodent
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Abstract

Geomagnetic sensitivity is present in a variety of vertebrates, but only recently has attention focused on subterranean mammals. We report the potential use of a magnetic compass in wild Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis) during dispersal at two sites in the Kalahari region of South Africa. When the distance traveled was greater than 250 m, males and females dispersed in opposite directions and females preferentially chose a predominantly northeastern direction. This directional choice likely is due to the differing dispersal tactics between sexes. This evidence suggests that Damaraland mole-rats employ a magnetic compass during aboveground dispersal to assist in locating mates or a new territory. This study provides evidence to show how magnetic compass use could be useful in dispersal, an important ecological process for mammals.

© The Author(s) 2021. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org.
Kyle T. Finn "Potential use of a magnetic compass during long-distance dispersal in a subterranean rodent," Journal of Mammalogy 102(1), 250-257, (22 January 2021). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyaa163
Received: 10 June 2020; Accepted: 16 November 2020; Published: 22 January 2021
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