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Lateralisation during lateral display and its relationship with antler size and symmetry in fallow deer (Dama dama)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Domhnall Jennings



Individuals often display a preference for one side of their body during aggressive encounters. This may be a lateralised preference for using one structure of a bilateral trait during display or physical attack, or for keeping the opponent in one visual field. Alternatively, it may be the case that behavioural lateralisation and the degree of symmetry expressed by bilateral structures are correlated forms of developmental instability. We examined whether there was an association between lateralisation during a lateral display and different measurements of antler size and symmetry (beam length, beam circumference, brow tine length and coronet circumference). Three models addressed different structural measures: the right antler, the larger antler and antler symmetry. Results showed that beam length was negatively associated with behavioural lateralisation irrespective of structural measure. A second analysis using a composite score of the four antler measurements, one for each structural measure, showed that only antler symmetry was negatively associated with lateralisation during lateral display. Therefore, our second predication was supported. We discuss these findings in relation to predator detection capability and stress reduction in prey species such as the fallow deer.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Jennings DJ, Gammell MP

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Laterality

Year: 2018

Volume: 23

Issue: 1

Pages: 1-19

Online publication date: 22/02/2017

Acceptance date: 03/02/2017

Date deposited: 26/04/2017

ISSN (print): 1357-650X

ISSN (electronic): 1464-0678

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/1357650X.2017.1293074


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