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Influence of female-biased sexual size dimorphism on dominance of female Townsend’s chipmunks

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Female-biased sexual size dimorphism (SSD), a condition common in North American chipmunks, occurs when females are larger than males in a species. We examined the influence of body size on dominance of captive female Townsend’s chipmunks (Tamias townsendii Bachman, 1839), a species that exhibits female-biased SSD, in all-female and mixed-sex dyadic encounters. In all-female dyads, large female chipmunks were more frequently dominant over small female opponents. In mixed-sex dyads, large females were always dominant over small males. Female-biased SSD in Townsend’s chipmunks appears to indirectly allow large females to more frequently dominate small female and male conspecifics. Greater dominance could increase reproductive success of large female chipmunks by increasing access to resources.

Le dimorphisme sexuel de la taille (SSD) qui favorise les femelles, une condition commune chez les tamias d’Amérique du Nord, se produit lorsque les femelles d’une espèce sont plus grandes que les mâles. Nous étudions l’influence de la taille corporelle sur la dominance chez des tamias de Townsend (Tamias townsendii Bachman, 1839) femelles en captivité, une espèce qui possède un SSD favorisant les femelles, lors de rencontres entre des dyades de femelles ou d’individus de sexe différent. Dans les dyades formées seulement de femelles, les femelles de grande taille dominent plus souvent leurs adversaires plus petits. Dans les dyades formées d’individus des deux sexes, les grandes femelles dominent toujours les petits mâles. Le SSD favorisant les femelles chez les tamias de Townsend semble permettre indirectement aux femelles plus grandes de dominer plus fréquemment les petites femelles et les mâles de leur espèce. La dominance accrue peut sans doute accroître le succès reproductif des grandes femelles de tamias en facilitant leur accès aux ressources.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-12-01

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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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