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Territoriality as a mating strategy in red deer

AuthorsCarranza, Juan; Álvarez, Fernando ; Redondo, T.
Issue Date1990
PublisherAcademic Press
CitationAnimal Behaviour 40: 79- 88 (1990)
AbstractThe mating behaviour of red deer stags, Cervus elaphus, has been extensively described as harem defence. However, it appears that territoriality may be chosen as a mating strategy when certain conditions are met. In a study area in southwestern Spain, early on in the rut, about 58% of adult males established territories in preferred areas, defended the territory against other males even in the absence of females, and courted females only within territorial boundaries. The mean territory size was about 2·3 ha. The later a male settled on his territory during the rut the fewer the females he was able to keep. The preferred areas where males established territories were also extensively used by females even before the start of the rut. The number of females per ha before the onset of the rut was positively correlated with the cumulative number of hinds that each male kept later on. Hence the reproductive success of males was largely influenced by the location of their territory. Such intensive use by females of a highly productive area for feeding and daily passage in an otherwise low-resource environment appears to promote the defence of territories located in the richest area. This paper provides the first evidence for territorial defence of mates in red deer and may contribute to the understanding of the dynamic nature of mating behaviour in ungulates. © 1990 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Identifiersdoi: 10.1016/S0003-3472(05)80667-0
issn: 0003-3472
Appears in Collections:(EBD) Artículos
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