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Bright moonlight triggers natal dispersal departures

AuthorsPenteriani, Vincenzo ; Delgado, María del Mar ; Kuparinen, Anna; Saurola, Pertti; Valkama, Jari; Salo, Eino; Toivola, Jere; Aebischer, Adrian; Arlettaz, Raphaël
KeywordsDispersal age
Lunar cycle
Moon phase
Perceptual range
Timing of dispersal
Visual cues
Bubo bubo
Issue Date2014
CitationBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 68(5):743-747 (2104)
AbstractUpon leaving their natal area, dispersers are confronted with unknown terrains. Species-specific perceptual ranges (i.e. the maximum distance from which an individual can perceive landscape features) play a crucial role in spatial movement decisions during such wanderings. In nocturnal animals that rely on vision, perceptual range is dramatically enhanced during moonlight, compared to moonless conditions. This increase of the perceptual range is an overlooked element that may be responsible for the successful crossing of unfamiliar areas during dispersal. The information gathered from 143 radio-tagged eagle owl Bubo bubo juveniles in Spain, Finland and Switzerland shows that, although the decision to initiate dispersal is mainly an endogenous phenomenon determined by the attainment of a given age (∼6 months), dispersers leave their birthplace primarily under the best light conditions at night, i.e. when most of the lunar disc is illuminated. This sheds new light into the mechanisms that may trigger dispersal from parental territory.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00265-014-1687-x
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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