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Mating tactics of male feral goats (Capra hircus): risks and benefits.


Saunders, F C; McElligott, A G; Safi, K; Hayden, T J (2005). Mating tactics of male feral goats (Capra hircus): risks and benefits. Acta Ethologica, 8(2):103-110.

Abstract

Intense competition between males for reproduction has led to the evolution of alternative mating tactics (AMTs). Feral goat males usually use a tactic called tending, in which they defend oestrous females from other
males. Males may also use a second mating tactic called coursing, in which they gain access to oestrous females by disturbing a tending pair. Herein, we examine estimated
mating success (EMS) and risks of using these tactics. Tending was only used by mature (≥4 years old), higherranking males and accounted for 75% of EMS. Coursing was used by males of all ages and dominance ranks, and accounted for 25% of EMS. Using coursing, male kids
achieved 8% of EMS. Mature males achieved 92% of EMS. Both age and dominance rank were related to EMS, but age was not important after its relationship with dominance was controlled. Tending bouts were, on average, ca. 30 min long, while coursing bouts only averaged ca. 2 min. Males were more likely to suffer a butt while coursing than while tending, and formerly tending males were responsible for most butts. Kids that coursed had the highest risk of being butted. In most AMTs, there are reductions in the risks in relation to low fitness benefits. However, we found that the risks of butts during coursing were high, while our evidence suggests that the EMS was probably low. Nevertheless,
the existence of an effective AMT in male feral goats may have an important influence on the intensity of sexual selection and the effective population size.

Intense competition between males for reproduction has led to the evolution of alternative mating tactics (AMTs). Feral goat males usually use a tactic called tending, in which they defend oestrous females from other
males. Males may also use a second mating tactic called coursing, in which they gain access to oestrous females by disturbing a tending pair. Herein, we examine estimated
mating success (EMS) and risks of using these tactics. Tending was only used by mature (≥4 years old), higherranking males and accounted for 75% of EMS. Coursing was used by males of all ages and dominance ranks, and accounted for 25% of EMS. Using coursing, male kids
achieved 8% of EMS. Mature males achieved 92% of EMS. Both age and dominance rank were related to EMS, but age was not important after its relationship with dominance was controlled. Tending bouts were, on average, ca. 30 min long, while coursing bouts only averaged ca. 2 min. Males were more likely to suffer a butt while coursing than while tending, and formerly tending males were responsible for most butts. Kids that coursed had the highest risk of being butted. In most AMTs, there are reductions in the risks in relation to low fitness benefits. However, we found that the risks of butts during coursing were high, while our evidence suggests that the EMS was probably low. Nevertheless,
the existence of an effective AMT in male feral goats may have an important influence on the intensity of sexual selection and the effective population size.

Citations

23 citations in Web of Science®
25 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Zoology (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Language:English
Date:2005
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0873-9749
Publisher DOI:10.1007/s10211-005-0006-y

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