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International Journal of Zoology
Volume 2011, Article ID 159462, 6 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2011/159462
Research Article

Habitat Selection and Mating Success in a Mustelid

UMR CNRS 6552 ETHOS, Université de Rennes 1, 35042 Rennes, France

Received 4 December 2010; Revised 20 February 2011; Accepted 4 March 2011

Academic Editor: Hynek Burda

Copyright © 2011 Thierry Lodé. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Habitat selection remains a poorly understood ecological process, but relating mating behaviour to pattern of habitat selection constitutes a fundamental issue both in evolutionary ecology and in biological conservation. From radiotelemetry protocol, habitat-induced variations in mating success were investigated in a solitary mustelid carnivore, the European polecat Mustela putorius. Selection for marshy habitat was regarded as adaptive in that mating success was found greater using marches than other habitats. Males consorted with 1.3 females, revealing a low polygyny rate. Pregnant or lactating females selectively shifted to deciduous woods. That some habitat types may favour a good reproduction forms a key factor for species conservation and environmental management. Nevertheless, such as in various vertebrates, habitat requirements seem to be based on simple broad features of habitat, suggesting that habitat avoidance rather than habitat preference can explain polecat habitat predilection.