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Investment in fighting in relation to body condition, age and dominance rank in the male fallow deer, Dama dama

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Domhnall Jennings



According to life history theory, males of iteroparous species are expected to trade off investment between current and future reproduction based on age ( mating strategy or terminal investment hypotheses) or body condition ( individual quality hypothesis). However, although central to this latter model, the question concerning whether and to what extent condition regulates competitive investment in polygynous species is unknown. Consequently, we investigated this issue with reference to fight structure in fallow deer contests. Support for the individual quality hypothesis was limited: males with larger necks as determined by prerut neck girth fought for longer than males with smaller necks. However, prime-aged males had higher investment in fighting than preprime- or postprime-aged males indicating that investment in fighting might be age related. Other aspects of our results also failed to support condition-related predictions; although we found that jump clashing and vocal rate were related to weight loss and decline in neck girth, respectively, there was no relationship between investment in fighting and prerut measures of body size. Moreover, we also found that rank was predicted by investment in fighting ( backward pushing) rather than body condition. Our results show that, in addition to body condition and age, variation in competitive investment between individuals also influences reproductive effort in the fallow deer. (C) 2010 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jennings DJ, Carlin CM, Hayden TJ, Gammell MP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Animal Behaviour

Year: 2010

Volume: 79

Issue: 6

Pages: 1293-1300

Print publication date: 08/04/2010

ISSN (print): 0003-3472

ISSN (electronic): 1095-8282

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2010.02.031


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