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Age- and sex-specific settlement patterns of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) offspring

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The social, spatial, and genetic structures of populations depend on where offspring settle and reproduce in relation to their parent’s home range. However, the patterns of settlement in wild populations of large mammals are often poorly described owing to the difficulty of monitoring mother-offspring pairs over a long period. Here, we investigated sex-specific settlement patterns in chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra (L., 1758)) based on the study of 31 mother-offspring pairs. We calculated the distance between the center of the mother’s range and the center of her offspring’s range, and tested whether this distance differed when the offspring was immature (i.e., a yearling) and after offspring sexual maturity (>2 years of age). We found no sex effect on the distance between centers of mother and offspring ranges for yearling offsprings. However, mature sons ranged farther away from their mother than mature daughters. Daughters appear to settle close to their mother’s home range. The distance at which a daughter settles compared with her mother’s range seems to be determined before 2 years of age. On the contrary, the distance between the center of the locations of yearling males and the center of locations of their mother does not predict how far away males will eventually settle when mature. We discuss the implications of these patterns for generating female social structures, as well as population spatial and genetic structures.

Les structures sociales, spatiales et génétiques des populations dépendent du lieu où les rejetons vont s’installer et se reproduire par rapport au domaine vital de leur parents. Cependant, les patrons d’installation dans les populations sauvages de grands mammifères sont souvent peu décrits car il est difficile de suivre les couples mères-jeunes sur une période longue. Ici, nous avons étudié les patrons d’installation chez le chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra (L., 1758)) en fonction de leur sexe chez 31 couples mères-jeunes. Nous avons calculé la distance entre le centre du domaine vital de la mère et le centre de celui de son jeune et testé si la distance différait quand le jeune était immature (jeune de 1 an) et avait atteint la maturité sexuelle (>2 ans). Nous n’avons pas trouvé d’effet du sexe sur la distance entre les centres des domaines de la mère et du jeune pour les jeunes immatures. Cependant, les fils adultes sont partis s’installer plus loin de leur mère que les filles adultes. La distance à laquelle une fille s’installe par rapport au domaine vital de sa mère semble déterminée avant l’âge de 2 ans. Au contraire, la distance entre les centres des localisations des mâles de 1 an et le centre des localisations de la mère ne permet pas de prédire la distance d’installation du fils lorsqu’il est adulte. Nous discutons de l’implication de ces patrons dans l’émergence des structures sociales femelles et des structures spatiale et génétique des populations.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-06-01

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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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