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Behavior and dispersal of white-tailed deer during the breeding season

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Sexual competition and aggression by adult females have been hypothesized to prompt dispersal by male white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus). We observed behavioral interactions of 21 yearling males (14 dispersers and 7 nondispersers) at Chesapeake Farms during the early part of the breeding season prior to actual breeding. Interactions with adult males and females constituted a small portion of all interactions and yearling males were similarly subordinate to adults. Dispersers participated in breeding-season behaviors with yearling males more often than nondispersers did (P = 0.005), and tended to be more subordinate than nondispersers (P = 0.095). Behavioral differences related to sexual competition with other yearlings appeared to be correlated with dispersal by yearling males at Chesapeake Farms. We recommend that both sexual competition and aggression by adult females be considered in future attempts to understand the dispersal behavior of white-tailed deer.

On attribue parfois le déclenchement de la dispersion des Cerfs de Virginie (Odocoileus virginianus) mâles à la compétition sexuelle et aux agressions des femelles adultes. Nous avons observé les interactions comportementales chez 21 mâles de l'année (14 qui ont quitté leur site natal et 7 sédentaires) à Chesapeake Farms au début de la saison de la reproduction, avant l'accouplement lui-même. Les interactions entre mâles adultes et femelles adultes constituent une faible proportion de toutes les interactions et les mâles de l'année des deux groupes sont également subordonnés aux adultes. Les individus qui quittent leur lieu de naissance ont des comportements avec les mâles de l'année plus souvent que les individus qui restent au site (P = 0,005) et ont plus tendance à être subordonnés que les individus qui restent au site (P = 0,095). Les différences de comportement reliées à la compétition sexuelle avec les autres individus de l'année semblent en corrélation avec la dispersion des mâles de l'année à Chesapeake Farms. Nous recommandons de tenir compte à la fois de la compétition sexuelle et des agressions par les femelles pour mieux comprendre le comportement de dispersion chez le Cerf de Virginie.[Traduit par la Rédaction]

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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