"We investigated the activity patterns of a European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) population living in a forested Apennine area in central Italy, in order to shed light on the environmental and biological factors that were expected to account for the observed activity patterns on daily and yearly bases. Daily and seasonal activity patterns of 31 radio-collared roe deer were assessed through sessions of radio tracking for a total period of 18 consecutive months. Roe deer showed bimodal activity patterns throughout the year, with the two highest peaks of activity recorded at dawn and dusk. Activity patterns of males and females differed during the territorial period (from early spring to late summer), whereas they did not during the nonterritorial period. Most likely, behavioral thermoregulation can be held responsible for variation of daily activity patterns in different seasons. In winter, for instance, activity during the dawn period was significantly higher than in other seasons and daylight activity was significantly higher than at night. Nocturnal activity was highest in summer and lowest in winter. During the hunting season, moreover, roe deer showed lower activity levels than during the rest of the year. The prediction that roe deer would show lower activity levels during full moon nights, when the predation risk was assumed to be higher, was not confirmed by our data. Activity rhythms in roe deer were thus subjected to both endogenous and environmental factors, the latter working as exogenous synchronization cues. Accordingly, in changing environmental and ecological conditions, a circadian cycle of activity could be seen as the result of complex interactions among daily behavioral rhythm, digestive physiology, and external modifying factors."
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|Titolo:||Seasonal variation of activity patterns in roe deer in a temperate forested area|
GRIGNOLIO, Stefano [Writing – Review & Editing] (Corresponding)
|Data di pubblicazione:||2013|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|