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Highly Competitive Reindeer Males Control Female Behavior during the Rut

Title:

Highly Competitive Reindeer Males Control Female Behavior during the Rut

Body, Guillaume, Weladji, Robert B., Holand, Øystein and Nieminen, Mauri (2014) Highly Competitive Reindeer Males Control Female Behavior during the Rut. PLoS ONE, 9 (4). e95618. ISSN 1932-6203

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0095618

Abstract

During the rut, female ungulates move among harems or territories, either to sample mates or to avoid harassment. Females may be herded by a male, may stay with a preferred male, or aggregate near a dominant male to avoid harassment from other males. In fission-fusion group dynamics, female movement is best described by the group’s fission probability, instead of inter-harem movement. In this study, we tested whether male herding ability, female mate choice or harassment avoidance influence fission probability. We recorded group dynamics in a herd of reindeer Rangifer tarandus equipped with GPS collars with activity sensors. We found no evidence that the harassment level in the group affected fission probability, or that females sought high rank (i.e. highly competitive and hence successful) males. However, the behavior of high ranked males decreased fission probability. Male herding activity was synchronous with the decrease of fission probability observed during the rut. We concluded that male herding behavior stabilized groups, thereby increasing average group size and consequently the opportunity for sexual selection.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Biology
Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Authors:Body, Guillaume and Weladji, Robert B. and Holand, Øystein and Nieminen, Mauri
Journal or Publication:PLoS ONE
Date:April 2014
Funders:
  • Concordia Open Access Author Fund
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):10.1371/journal.pone.0095618
ID Code:978693
Deposited By: GEOFFREY LITTLE
Deposited On:11 Jun 2014 19:36
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:47
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