Advertisement

acta ethologica

, Volume 22, Issue 1, pp 1–8 | Cite as

Sex/age differences in foraging, vigilance and alertness in a social herbivore

  • Ilaria Pecorella
  • Niccolò Fattorini
  • Elisabetta Macchi
  • Francesco FerrettiEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

Antipredator strategies and social factors may influence vigilance behaviour in herbivores. Vigilance can differ between sex/age classes, but information is contradictory in the existing literature. We investigated sex/age differences of vigilance in fallow deer Dama dama, in a Mediterranean area. Females (> 1 year old) showed a lower proportion of time foraging and a greater alertness rate than males (≥ 1 years old). Decrease of vigilance with increasing group size was observed for females and adult males, but not for young and subadult males, suggesting that group-size effects on vigilance were not consistent across individuals of different sex/age classes. Most likely, females tended to reduce the predation risk for their offspring through a comparatively greater duration and frequency of vigilance. Young/subadult males showed a greater alertness than adult males, which may depend on intraspecific competition in larger groups. Both antipredator and social factors could explain sex/age differences of vigilance in fallow deer.

Keywords

Vigilance Head lift Antipredator behaviour Group-size effect Intraspecific competition Ungulates 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank the MRP Agency and A. Vivarelli Colonna, who authorised us to carry out observations on their lands. We are indebted to S. Lovari, who supported and gave feedback to F.F. throughout the study, to A. Sforzi for suggestions and backing in the initial stages of this work, and to the MRP staff for logistical support and backing. We are grateful to two anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments on an early draft of this manuscript.

Author contributions

F.F. planned this study, collected data in 2006-2008, performed statistical analyses, supervised all stage of this study and participated in writing up all drafts. I.P. collected data in 2012–2013 and participated in writing up all drafts. N.F. performed statistical analyses and participated in writing up. E.M. participated in data discussion and in writing up.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

This article does not contain any studies with human participants.

References

  1. Appleby MC (1980) Social rank and food access in red deer stags. Behaviour 74:294–309CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Apollonio M (2003) Dama dama (Linnaeus, 1758) In: Boitani L, Lovari S, Vigna Taglianti A (eds) Fauna d’Italia. Mammalia III Carnivora - Artiodactyla. Calderini, Bologna, pp 295–304Google Scholar
  3. Apollonio M, Focardi S, Toso S, Nacci L (1998) Habitat selection and group formation pattern of fallow deer in a submediterranean environment. Ecography 21:225–234CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barette C, Vandal D (1986) Social rank, dominance, antler size, and access to food in snow-bound wild woodland caribou. Behaviour 97:118–145CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bartoń K (2012) MuMIn: multi-model inference. R Foundation for Statistical Computing, ViennaGoogle Scholar
  6. Beauchamp G (2001) Should vigilance always decrease with group size? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 51:47–52CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Beauchamp G (2003) Group-size effects on vigilance: a search for mechanisms. Behav Process 63:111–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Beauchamp G (2008) What is the magnitude of the group-size effect on vigilance? Behav Ecol 19:1361–1368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Beauchamp G (2015) Animal vigilance. In: Monitoring predators and competitors. Elsevier, BostonGoogle Scholar
  10. Beauchamp G, Ruxton GD (2003) Changes in vigilance with group size under scramble competition. Am Nat 161:672–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bednekoff PA, Ritter R (1994) Vigilance in the Nxai pan springbok, Antidorcas marsupialis. Behaviour 129:1–11CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Bergvall UA, Svensson L, Kjellander P (2016) Vigilance adjustments in relation to long- and short term risk in wild fallow deer (Dama dama). Behav Process 128:58–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bertram BC (1980) Vigilance and group size in ostriches. Anim Behav 28:278–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Blanchard P, Fritz H (2007) Induced or routine vigilance while foraging. Oikos 116:1603–1608CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Bolker BM, Skaug H, Magnusson A, Nielsen A (2012) Getting started with the glmm ADMB package. http://glmmadmb.r-forge.r-project.org. Accessed 15 November 2017
  16. Bruno E, Lovari S (1989) Foraging behaviour of adult female Apennine chamois in relation to seasonal variation in food supply. Acta Theriol 34:513–523CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Bunnell FL, Gillingham MP (1985) Foraging behavior: dynamics of dining out. In: Hudson RJ, White RG (eds) Bioenergetics of wild herbivores. CRC, Boca Raton, pp 53–79Google Scholar
  18. Burnham KP, Anderson DR (2002) Model selection and multimodel inference: a practical information-theoretic approach. Springer-Verlag, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  19. Cameron EZ, Du Toit J (2005) Social influences on vigilance behaviour in giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis. Anim Behav 69:1337–1344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Caniglia R, Fabbri E, Greco C, Galaverini M, Manghi L, Boitani L, Sforzi A, Randi E (2013) Black coats in an admixed wolf × dog pack is melanism an indicator of hybridization in wolves? Eur J Wildl Res 59:543–555CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Caraco T (1979) Time budgeting and group size: a test of theory. Ecology 60:618–627CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Childress MJ, Lung MA (2003) Predation risk, gender and the group size effect: does elk vigilance depend upon the behaviour of conspecifics? Anim Behav 66:389–398CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ciuti S, Bongi P, Vassale S, Apollonio M (2006) Influence of fawning on the spatial behaviour and habitat selection of female fallow deer (Dama dama) during late pregnancy and early lactation. J Zool 268:97–107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ciuti S, Davini S, Luccarini S, Apollonio M (2008) Could the predation risk hypothesis explain large-scale spatial sexual segregation in fallow deer (Dama dama)? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 56:552–564CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Clutton-Brock TH, Albon SD, Gibson RM, Guinness FE (1979) The logical stag: adaptive aspects of fighting in red deer (Cervus elaphus L.). Anim Behav 27:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Clutton-Brock TH, Green D, Hiraiwa-Hasegawa M, Albon SD (1988) Passing the buck: resource defence, lek breeding and mate choice in fallow deer. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 23:281–296CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Clutton-Brock TH, Iason GR, Albon SD, Guinnes FE (1982) The effects of lactation on feeding behavior and habitat use of wild red deer hinds. J Zool 198:277–236CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Coltman DW, Festa-Bianchet M, Jorgenson JT, Strobeck C (2002) Age-dependent sexual selection in bighorn rams. Proc R Soc Lon B Biol 269:165–172CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Crawley MJ (2007) The R book. John Wiley and Sons Ltd, ChichesterCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Creel S, Christianson D (2008) Relationships between direct predation and risk effects. Trends Ecol Evol 23:194–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Dukas R, Kamil AC (2000) The cost of limited attention in blue jays. Behav Ecol 11:502–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Elgar MA (1989) Predator vigilance and group size in mammals and birds: a critical review of the empirical evidence. Biol Rev 64:13–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Emlen ST, Oring LW (1977) Ecology, sexual selection, and the evolution of mating systems. Science 197:215–223CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Fattorini L, Ferretti F, Pisani C, Sforzi A (2011) Two-stage estimation of ungulate abundance in Mediterranean areas using pellet group count. Environ Ecol Stat 18:291–314CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Favreau FR, Goldizen AW, Pays O (2010) Interactions among social monitoring, anti-predator vigilance and group size in eastern grey kangaroos. P Roy Soc Lond B Bio rspb20092337Google Scholar
  36. Ferretti F (2011) Interspecific aggression between fallow and roe deer. Ethol Ecol Evol 23:179–186CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Ferretti F, Sforzi A, Lovari S (2011a) Behavioural interference between ungulate species: roe are not on velvet with fallow deer. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 65:875–887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Ferretti F, Bertoldi G, Sforzi A, Fattorini L (2011b) Roe and fallow deer: are they compatible neighbours? Eur J Wildl Res 57:775–783CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ferretti F, Costa A, Corazza M, Pietrocini V, Cesaretti G, Lovari S (2014a) Males are faster foragers than females: intersexual differences of foraging behaviour in the Apennine chamois. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 68:1335–1344Google Scholar
  40. Ferretti F, Sforzi A, Coats J, Massei G (2014b) The BOS™ as a species-specific method to deliver baits to wild boar in a Mediterranean area. Eur J Wildl Res 60(3):555–558Google Scholar
  41. Focardi S, Pecchioli E (2005) Social cohesion and foraging decrease with group size in fallow deer (Dama dama). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 59:84–91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Frid A (1997) Vigilance by female Dall’s sheep: interactions between predation risk factors. Anim Behav 53:799–808CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Goss-Custard JD, Cayford JT, Lea SG (1999) Vigilance during food handling by oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus reduces the chances of losing prey to kleptoparasites. Ibis 141:368–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Holberton RL, Hanano R, Able KP (1990) Age-related dominance in male dark-eyed juncos: effects of plumage and prior residence. Anim Behav 40:573–579CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Hunter LTB, Skinner JD (1998) Vigilance behavior in African ungulates: the role of predation pressure. Behaviour 135:195–211CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Illius AW, Fitzgibbon C (1994) Costs of vigilance in foraging ungulates. Anim Behav 47:481–484CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Jennings DJ, Carlin CM, Hayden TJ, Gammell MP (2010) Investment in fighting in relation to body condition, age and dominance rank in the male fallow deer, Dama dama. Anim Behav 79:1293–1300CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Jennings DJ, Gammell MP, Carlin CM, Hayden TJ (2006) Is difference in body weight, antler length, age or dominance rank related to the number of fights between fallow deer (Dama dama)? Ethology 112:258–269CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Komers PE, Pélabon C, Stenström D (1997) Age at first reproduction in male fallow deer: age-specific versus dominance-specific behaviors. Behav Ecol 8:456–462CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Lehner PN (1996) Handbook of ethological methods. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  51. Li Z, Jang Z (2008) Group size effect on vigilance: evidence in Upper Buha River, Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau. Behav Process 78:25–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Li C, Jang Z, Li L, Li Z, Fang H, Li C, Beauchamp G (2012) Effects of reproductive status, social rank, sex and group size on vigilance patterns in Przewalski’s gazelle. PLoS One 7:e32607CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Lima SL (1987) Vigilance while feeding and its relation to the risk of predation. J Theor Biol 124:303–316CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Lima SL (1998) Stress and decision making under the risk of predation: recent developments from behavioral, reproductive and ecological prospectives. Adv Study Behav 27:215–290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Lima SL, Dill LM (1990) Behavioural decisions made under the risk of predation: a review and prospectus. Can J Zool 68:619–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Lovari S, Rosto G (1985) Feeding rate and social stress of female chamois foraging in groups. In: Lovari S (ed) The biology and management of mountain ungulates. Croom Helm, London, pp 102–105Google Scholar
  57. Lung MA, Childress MJ (2007) The influence of conspecifics and predation risk on the vigilance of elk (Cervus elaphus) in Yellowstone National Park. Behav Ecol 18:12–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Main MB, Weckerly FW, Bleich VC (1996) Sexual segregation in ungulates: new directions for research. J Mammal 77:449–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Mainguy J, Côté SD, Cardinal E, Houle M (2008) Mating tactics and mate choice in relation to age and social rank in male mountain goats. J Mammal 89:626–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Manghi L, Boitani L (2012) Indagine sull’ecologia alimentare di Canis lupus e sviluppo di un'applicazione con il software Cyber Traker per il monitoraggio della biodiversità. Relazione sulle attività svolte: Giugno-Dicembre 2011. Fondazione Grosseto Cultura, GrossetoGoogle Scholar
  61. Marino A, Baldi R (2008) Vigilance patterns of territorial guanacos (Lama guanicoe): the role of reproductive interests and predation risk. Ethology 114:413–423CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Marino A (2010) Costs and benefits of sociality differ between female guanacos living in contrasting ecological conditions. Ethology 116:999–1010CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. McElliggot AG, Mattiangeli V, Mattiello S, Verga M, Reynolds CA, Hayden TJ (1998) Fighting tactics of fallow bucks (Dama dama, Cervidae): reducing the risks of serious conflict. Ethology 104:789–803CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. McElliggot AG, Hayden TJ (2000) Lifetime mating success, sexual selection and life history of fallow bucks (Dama dama). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 48:203–210CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. McElliggot AG, Gammell MP, Harty HC, Paini DR, Murphy DF, Walsh JT, Hayden TJ (2001) Sexual size dimorphism in fallow deer (Dama dama): do larger, heavier males gain greater mating success? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 49:266–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Michelena P, Noel S, Gautrais J, Gerard JF, Deneubourg JL, Bon R (2006) Sexual dimorphism, activity budget and synchrony in group of sheep. Oecologia 148:170–180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Molvar EM, Bowyer RT (1994) Costs and benefits of group living in a recently social ungulate: the Alaskan moose. J Mammal 75:621–630CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Pecorella I, Ferretti F, Sforzi A, Macchi M (2016) Effects of culling on vigilance behaviour and endogenous stress response of female fallow deer. Wildl Res 43:189–196CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Pluháček J, Bartoš L (2000) Male infanticide in captive plains zebra, Equus burchelli. Anim Behav 59:689–694CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Pulliam HR (1973) On the advantages of flocking. J Theor Biol 38:419–422CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Rieucau G, Martin JGA (2008) Many eyes or many ewes: vigilance tactics in female bighorn sheep Ovis Canadensis vary according to reproductive status. Oikos 117:501–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Roberts G (1996) Why individual vigilance declines as group size increases. Anim Behav 51:1077–1086CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. San José C, Lovari S, Ferrari N (1996) Temporal evolution of vigilance in roe deer. Behav Process 38:155–159CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Searcy WA, Wingfield JC (1980) The effects of androgen and antiandrogen on dominance and aggressiveness in male red-winged blackbirds. Horm Behav 14:126–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Sforzi A, Machetti A, Boldrini U, Tonini L, Ferretti F (2014) Programma annuale per la gestione delle popolazioni di ungulati selvatici del Parco Regionale della Maremma. Ente Parco Regionale della Maremma, AlbereseGoogle Scholar
  76. Shi J, Li D, Xiao W (2011) Influences of sex, group size, and spatial position on vigilance behaviour of Przewalski’s gazelles. Acta Theriol 56:73–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Shorrocks B, Cokayne A (2005) Vigilance and group size in impala (Aepyceros melampus Lichtenstein): a study in Nairobi National Park, Kenya. Afr J Ecol 43:91–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Simpson HI, Rands SA, Nicol CJ (2012) Social structure, vigilance and behavior of plains zebra (Equus burchellii): a 5-year case study of individuals living on a managed wildlife reserve. Acta Theriol 57:111–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Thirgood SJ (1996) Ecological factors influencing sexual segregation and group size in fallow deer (Dama dama). J Zool 239:783–797CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Thouless C (1990) Feeding competition between grazing red deer hinds. Anim Behav 40:105–111CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Toïgo C (1999) Vigilance behavior in lactating female Alpine ibex. Can J Zool 77:1060–1063CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Treves A (2000) Theory and method in studies of vigilance and aggregation. Anim Behav 60:711–722CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Vilá BL, Cassini MH (1994) Time allocation during the reproductive season in vicuñas. Ethology 97:226–235CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. White KS, Berger J (2001) Antipredator strategies of Alaskan moose: are maternal trade-offs influenced by offspring activity? Can J Zool 79:2055–2062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Zheng W, Beauchamp G, Jiang X, Li Z, Yang Q (2013) Determinants of vigilance in a reintroduced population of Pere David’s deer. Curr Zool 59:265–262CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© ISPA, CRL 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ilaria Pecorella
    • 1
  • Niccolò Fattorini
    • 2
  • Elisabetta Macchi
    • 1
  • Francesco Ferretti
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Veterinary SciencesUniversity of TurinGrugliascoItaly
  2. 2.Research Unit of Behavioural Ecology, Ethology and Wildlife Management, Department of Life SciencesUniversity of SienaSienaItaly

Personalised recommendations