Territory, Individual

Territory, Individual

 

(living area or, for birds, the nesting area), the territory occupied by a single individual, a mated pair and their offspring, a family, or a flock of animals.

The individual territory of birds, many mammals, and some other animals has definite boundaries during the reproductive season and is, as a rule, protected from penetration by other individuals of the same species. In birds the singing of the male informs others of the occupancy of a territory (the males of other couples who trespass on the territory are expelled). In mammals the voice is used (wolves, deer); some animals mark the boundaries of their individual territory with feces, urine, odorous substances (such as musk), or various markings (such as scratches) on trees or elsewhere. Ungulates that live in nomadic herds (such as saigas and Persian gazelles) have no individual territories. The size of an individual territory varies from a few square meters (in nesting colonies of birds such as seagulls) or a few dozen or hundred square meters (small rodents and songbirds) to hundreds of square kilometers (a pack of wolves in winter). Individual territory is a very important factor in the biology of species and of communities: it determines the distribution of populations in a territory, the numbers of a species per unit of area, and the total population of a species.

V. G. GEPTNER

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