We studied the association between space sharing and kinship in a solitary rodent, the dusky-footed woodrat (Neotoma fuscipes). Genetic relatedness was inversely correlated with geographic distance for female woodrats but not for males, a pattern consistent with female philopatry and male dispersal. However, some female neighbors were unrelated, suggesting the possibility of female dispersal. Relatedness of female dyads was positively correlated with overlap of their home ranges and core areas, indicating that females were more likely to share space with relatives, whereas males showed no correlation between relatedness and the sharing of either home ranges or core areas. However, some females that shared space were not close relatives, and some closely related males shared space. House sharing was exhibited both by close relatives and by distantly related or unrelated woodrats, and was not correlated with relatedness. The kin structuring we describe likely resulted from a pattern of female philopatry and male dispersal, but also may have resulted from kin-directed behaviors by females.
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Vol. 93 • No. 2