Definition: Tendency of an individual to return to, or remain in, its birthplace to reproduce. It happens on both, aquatic and terrestrial animals.
Also known as natal homing.
This type of behavior is most commonly seen in a variety of bird and turtle species. This type of behavior is thought to be naturally selected because it takes more energy and fitness to create a new nesting site each year (Lee et al., 2007). Other advantages are cooperation with family members and avoidance of social barriers between non-member groups when migrating.
The disadvantages are the vulnerability to catastrophes and the reduction of gene flow. The genetic diversity is distributed among populations, rather than within these breeding colonies (Stiebens, et al. 2013).
Studies show that females have a higher probability of returning to their
nesting sight than males ( Greenwood and Harvey, 1982 & Lee et al., 2007).
- Greenwood and Harvey. (1982). The Natal and Breeding Dispersal of Birds. Annual Reviews of Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 13: 1-21. [to Article]
- Lee et al. (2007). Detecting female precise natal philopatry in green turtles using assignment methods. Molecular Ecology, 16: 61-74. [to Article]
- Stiebens, V. A., Merino, S. E., Roder, C., Chain, F. J. J., Lee, P. L. M., & Eizaguirre, C. (2013). Living on the edge: how philopatry maintains adaptive potential. Proceedings of the Royal Society, 280.