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Social status and physical condition of mother and sex ratio of offspring in cervids

By I. Kojola

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The degree of polygyny and litter size varies between deer species and may affect the relationship between maternal condition and offspring sex ratio. The hypothesis that females in good condition produce more male offspring than females in poorer condition was investigated by analysing data from the literature. Good foraging conditions were found to increase the number of female offspring, even in the most polygynous species, red deer (Cervus elaphus) and reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). However, analysis of offspring sex ratio of these species also showed that high-ranking females gave birth to more males than low-ranking ones. In general the results for these species agreed with the hypothesis. In mule deer (Odocoileus hemionus), white-tailed deer (O. virginianus) and moose (Alces sp.), species in which twins or triplets can be born, parental investment per litter could be affected by offspring sex and litter size. The data for these species were contradictory and evidence of offspring sex ratio variation was less conclusive than in red deer and reindeer.

Date 1997
Publication Title Applied Animal Behaviour Science
Volume 51
Issue 3/4
Pages 267-274
ISBN/ISSN 0168-1591
DOI 10.1016/S0168-1591(96)01109-4
Language English
Author Address Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute, Ohtaoja, FIN-93400, Taivalkoski, Finland.
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal behavior
  2. Animal reproduction
  3. Behavior and behavior mechanisms
  4. Body condition
  5. Deer
  6. Dominance
  7. Litters
  8. Mammals
  9. moose
  10. parents
  11. peer-reviewed
  12. Ruminants
  13. sex ratio
  14. Status
  15. Wild animals
  1. peer-reviewed