Title
Reproductive effort of bison bulls (**Bison bison**) in semi-natural conditions
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Publication type
article
Publication
Tsukuba ,
Subject
Biology
Source (journal)
Journal of ethology. - Tsukuba
Volume/pages
29(2011) :2 , p. 285-291
ISSN
0289-0771
ISI
000289564800012
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Reproductive effort (RE) is defined as the investment in any current reproductive act. In male ungulates, variation in RE can be explained by differences in age, dominance, phase in the breeding season and number of oestrus females simultaneously present. We investigated the relation between these factors and RE in American bison males in semi-natural conditions. We looked for differences between males in RE, measured by tending behaviour, and maintenance activities (feeding/resting) during the rut. We found no effect of age on RE. During early rut there was no difference in RE between males of different rank. Dominant males had a higher RE during peak rut, and in late rut both the first and second ranking males showed more RE than lower ranking bulls. For all males, there was a clear increase in RE towards peak rut and when more females were attractive. Maintenance behaviours decreased when more females were synchronously in oestrus. The most dominant bulls spent less time grazing than lower ranking males, and all males decreased feeding during peak rut. Resting decreased with age. We conclude that dominance, phase of rut and the number of females synchronously in oestrus are the factors that best explain variation in RE.
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