Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 67, Issue 8, pp 1249–1258 | Cite as

Sex differences in the consequences of maternal loss in a long-lived mammal, the red deer (Cervus elaphus)

  • Daniel Andres
  • Tim H. Clutton-Brock
  • Loeske E. B. Kruuk
  • Josephine M. Pemberton
  • Katie V. Stopher
  • Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
Original Paper

Abstract

In several primates, the presence of mothers affects the growth, survival and reproduction of their offspring, but similar effects have not yet been demonstrated in ungulates. Here, we investigate the effects of the mother’s presence in a population of red deer (Cervus elaphus) on the Isle of Rum, Scotland, which is the subject of a long-term, individual-based study. We compared measures of performance including antler growth in young males and age at first reproduction in females and survival of deer with mothers still alive against those that have lost their mothers (orphans). We show that orphaning both before and after weaning increases the risk of a natural death for both sexes. For males, no maternal benefit was detectable past 24 months of age while, for females, post-weaning benefits continued throughout life. Orphaning resulted in compromised male physical condition as measured by a reduced probability of growing antlers by 16 months of age while no evidence for compromised reproduction was found in females. These results support assertions that post-weaning maternal associations affect the development and survival of offspring.

Keywords

Maternal care Sex differences Orphaning Philopatry Emigration Red deer Cervus elaphus 

Supplementary material

265_2013_1552_MOESM1_ESM.docx (26 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 26.4 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel Andres
    • 1
  • Tim H. Clutton-Brock
    • 2
  • Loeske E. B. Kruuk
    • 3
    • 4
  • Josephine M. Pemberton
    • 4
  • Katie V. Stopher
    • 4
  • Kathreen E. Ruckstuhl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  3. 3.Division of Evolution, Ecology & Genetics, Research School of BiologyThe Australian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  4. 4.Institute of Evolutionary Biology, School of Biological SciencesUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK

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