SREL Reprint #2459




Female philopatry and extreme spatial genetic heterogeneity in white-tailed deer

James R. Purdue1, Michael H. Smith2,3, and John C. Patton4

1Zoology Section, Illinois State Museum, 1011 East Ash Street, Springfield, IL 62703
2Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802
3Department of Genetics, Institute of Ecology and School of Forest Resources,
University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602
4LGL Ecological Research Associates, Inc., 1410 Cavitt Street, Bryan, TX 77801

Abstract: We examined genetic variability and spatial heterogeneity of maternally (mtDNA) and biparentally (allozymes) inherited genes for a large, widely distributed mammal. White-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in 6 populations from the coastal plain in Georgia and South Carolina showed high levels of variability and spatial heterogeneity for mtDNA and allozymes. There was little sharing of mtDNA variants among samples separated by 30 to 100 km, and 12 of 13 allozyme loci showed significant differentiation among populations. Spatial genetic heterogeneity was positively correlated with geographical distance as predicted in Wright's isolation by distance model. High spatial heterogeneity is surprising considering the species' physical capacity for moving great distances. Dispersal must be limited, but more so in females because they accounted for only an estimated 13% of total dispersal. Social factors must strongly limit dispersal in white-tailed deer and probably many other mammals.

Keywords: gene flow, genetic spatial heterogeneity, Odocoileus virginianus, white-tailed deer

SREL Reprint #2459

Purdue, J. R., M. H. Smith, and J. C. Patton. 2000. Female philopatry and extreme spatial genetic heterogeneity in white-tailed deer. Journal of Mammalogy 81:179-185.

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