Avoidance of fallow deer by roe deer may not be habitat-dependent
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University of Siena
Natural History Museum of Maremma; University of Siena
Publication date: 2012-10-15
Hystrix It. J. Mamm. 2012;23(2):28–35

Information is scarce on behavioural interference between wild ungulates. In particular, data are lacking on relationships between interference and habitat use. We analysed habitat correlates of behavioural interactions between fallow deer Dama dama and roe deer Capreolus capreolus at feeding, in a Mediterranean area. Previous research has shown that behavioural interference between these deer, with the former dominant over the latter, occurred also through direct aggression. Here we show that, for roe deer, the probability of being displaced by fallow deer did not depend on the habitat where the deer meet. Interspecific encounters, thus interactions, were the most frequent in the habitat mainly used by roe deer, i.e. the set-aside grassland. When in the habitats most used by fallow deer (pastures and crops), roe deer experienced a greater risk of suffering a displacement. The rate of intolerance encounters increased in spring, when habitat overlap occurred because fallow deer intensified the use of set-aside. Our results suggest that, most likely, avoidance of fallow deer by roe deer is not habitat-dependent.