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Sexual size dimorphism in fallow deer (Dama dama): do larger, heavier males gain greater mating success?


McElligott, A G; Gammell, M P; Harty, H C; Paini, D R; Murphy, D T; Walsh, J T; Hayden, T J (2001). Sexual size dimorphism in fallow deer (Dama dama): do larger, heavier males gain greater mating success? Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 49(4):266-272.

Abstract

Sexual size dimorphism may evolve as a result
of both natural and sexual selection. In polygynous mammals, the main factor resulting in the evolution of large body size in males is the advantage conferred during competition for mates. In this study, we examined whether sexual selection acts on body size in mature fallow bucks (Dama dama) by examining how the following traits are inter-related: age, body (skeletal) size, body mass, prerut dominance rank, rut dominance rank and mating success. This is the first study to examine how all
these factors are together related to the mating success of a large sexually dimorphic and polygynous mammal. We found that male mating success was directly related to body size, but not to body mass. However body mass
was related to prerut dominance rank which was in turn strongly related to rut dominance rank, and thus there was an indirect relationship between mating success and body mass. Rut dominance rank was the variable most strongly related to mating success. Mating success among mature males was unrelated to age. We conclude that larger mature fallow bucks have advantages over
other males when competing for matings, and sexual selection therefore continues to act on sexual size dimorphism in this species. Heavier fallow bucks also have advantages,
but these are mediated through the dominance
ranks attained by males before the rut.

Abstract

Sexual size dimorphism may evolve as a result
of both natural and sexual selection. In polygynous mammals, the main factor resulting in the evolution of large body size in males is the advantage conferred during competition for mates. In this study, we examined whether sexual selection acts on body size in mature fallow bucks (Dama dama) by examining how the following traits are inter-related: age, body (skeletal) size, body mass, prerut dominance rank, rut dominance rank and mating success. This is the first study to examine how all
these factors are together related to the mating success of a large sexually dimorphic and polygynous mammal. We found that male mating success was directly related to body size, but not to body mass. However body mass
was related to prerut dominance rank which was in turn strongly related to rut dominance rank, and thus there was an indirect relationship between mating success and body mass. Rut dominance rank was the variable most strongly related to mating success. Mating success among mature males was unrelated to age. We conclude that larger mature fallow bucks have advantages over
other males when competing for matings, and sexual selection therefore continues to act on sexual size dimorphism in this species. Heavier fallow bucks also have advantages,
but these are mediated through the dominance
ranks attained by males before the rut.

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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:2001
Deposited On:11 Feb 2008 12:15
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 12:14
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s002650000293

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