Dispersal and philopatric tendencies were examined in Alabama beach mice (Peromyscus polionotus ammobates) during a 26-month study. Data on microgeographic dispersal (126,410 trap nights) were used to test hypotheses relating to dispersal, persistence time, and home-range size. We predicted that dispersal between zones would be nonrandom and that dispersal patterns would fit a simple competition-based model. In addition, we predicted that philopatry would be beneficial in terms of persistence times and home-range size. Counter to our prediction, dispersal distance (average 160.2 m) was equal both within and between habitat zones. Home-range size (average 3,586.2 m2) was significantly smaller for philopatric mice (1,933.7 m2) but persistence times were longer for dispersers ( 37.5 days). We hypothesize that predation risk may counteract normal advantages of philopatry for this population.
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