Estimators of home-range size require a large number of observations for estimation and sparse data typical of tropical studies often prohibit the use of such estimators. An alternative may be use of distance metrics as indexes of home range. However, tests of correlation between distance metrics and home-range estimators only exist for North American rodents. We evaluated the suitability of 3 distance metrics (mean distance between successive captures [SD], observed range length [ORL], and mean distance between all capture points [AD]) as indexes for home range for 2 Brazilian Atlantic forest rodents, Akodon montensis (montane grass mouse) and Delomys sublineatus (pallid Atlantic forest rat). Further, we investigated the robustness of distance metrics to low numbers of individuals and captures per individual. We observed a strong correlation between distance metrics and the home-range estimator. None of the metrics was influenced by the number of individuals. ORL presented a strong dependence on the number of captures per individual. Accuracy of SD and AD was not dependent on number of captures per individual, but precision of both metrics was low with numbers of captures below 10. We recommend the use of SD and AD instead of ORL and use of caution in interpretation of results based on trapping data with low captures per individual.
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Vol. 93 • No. 1