Movement behavior of the Monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides): new insights into the ecology of a unique marsupial

Lida Marcela Franco Pérez, Giovany Guevara Cardona, Francisco E. Fontúrbel, Mauricio Soto-Gamboa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Behavior and activity patterns largely determine animal’s fitness and their ecological roles. Those patterns
depend on many factors, being body mass, sex and age the most relevant in mammals. Particularly, those
factors altogether with environmental conditions could influence movement behavior of mammals that hibernate,
such as the Monito del monte (Dromiciops gliroides).
Methods: To evaluate its movement behavior and activity we radio-tracked D. gliroides 12 individuals (8 females and 4
males, corresponding to 5 adults and 7 sub-adults) during the austral summer. With the estimated locations we estimated
home ranges, core areas and their relationship with body mass. We also assessed movement speed during early (19:00 to
01:00 h), peak (01:00 to 03:00 h) and late (03:00 to 07:00 h) activity periods. This study was conducted at the San
Martín experimental forest (Valdivia, southern Chile).
Results: Estimated home range areas were 1.04 ± 0.20 ha, and core areas were 0.27 ± 0.06 ha; we found no significant
differences between males and females, nor between adults and sub-adults. Home range and core areas were
independent of body mass in females but showed positive relationships in males. Core area overlap was larger between
sub-adult and adult individuals (35%) than between adult males and females (13%). Average movement D.
gliroides speed was 1.45 m/min, reaching its lowest value during the peak activity period (01:00 to 03:00 h),
but being faster during early and late activity periods. Those speed differences may be related to travelling
and foraging activities.
Conclusion: Home range and core areas estimated here showed a large variability, which can be related to
environmental factors. Home range size was positively correlated with body mass on males but not on females. Also,
lower movement speeds at the peak activity period suggest that D. gliroides concentrates feeding activities at this time.
As D. gliroides disperses the seeds of at least 16 native plant species, its movement behavior also has important
consequences at the community level.
Original languageEnglish
Article number92:8
Pages (from-to)1-7
Number of pages7
JournalRevista Chilena de Historia Natural
StatePublished - 8 Nov 2019

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