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Breeding behavior of female white ‐ tailed deer relative to conception: Evidence for female mate choice

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ABSTRACT

Female white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are thought to choose between two behavioral strategies to maximize the quality of potential mates: sit and wait, characterized by concentrating activity within a restricted area, and excursive behavior, characterized by increased activity and excursions outside the home range. As movement patterns may influence conception, our goal was to examine the patterns of female white‐tailed deer movements to evaluate which breeding strategy was employed. We equipped 36 female white‐tailed deer with GPS collars from August 2013 to December 2015. We found that movement rate and probability of activity were greatest near the peak of the breeding season, and we observed increases in both metrics during the 40 days prior to estimated conception. Peak size of home range and core area occurred in the days surrounding conception. We found that 11 deer performed an excursion, ranging from 43 days before until 36 days after conception, with the peak probability of being outside of an individual home range occurring 1 day prior to conception. Our results suggest that female white‐tailed deer may attempt to maximize the quality of their mates by advertising availability for breeding through excursive behaviors just prior to entering estrus.

No MeSH data available.


Probability of a female white‐tailed deer at Brosnan Forest, SC performing an excursion relative to date of conception, 2013–2015. Error bars represent SE
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ece32845-fig-0004: Probability of a female white‐tailed deer at Brosnan Forest, SC performing an excursion relative to date of conception, 2013–2015. Error bars represent SE

Mentions: We identified 23 excursions from the 21 deer that conceived with 2, 14, and 7 excursions performed during the prerut, rut, and postrut periods, respectively. Excursions ranged from 43 days before to 36 days postconception (Table 2), and the probability of a deer going on an excursion on a particular day increased prior to conception and peaked at 0.045 (SE = 0.012), 7 days postconception (Figure 4). We found no evidence that age impacted whether a deer performed an excursion (p = .125, SE = 0.378). The probability of being outside the SHR peaked surrounding conception, with the maximum observed value of 0.057 (SE = 0.004) occurring 1 day prior to conception (Figure 5).


Breeding behavior of female white ‐ tailed deer relative to conception: Evidence for female mate choice
Probability of a female white‐tailed deer at Brosnan Forest, SC performing an excursion relative to date of conception, 2013–2015. Error bars represent SE
© Copyright Policy - creativeCommonsBy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383498&req=5

ece32845-fig-0004: Probability of a female white‐tailed deer at Brosnan Forest, SC performing an excursion relative to date of conception, 2013–2015. Error bars represent SE
Mentions: We identified 23 excursions from the 21 deer that conceived with 2, 14, and 7 excursions performed during the prerut, rut, and postrut periods, respectively. Excursions ranged from 43 days before to 36 days postconception (Table 2), and the probability of a deer going on an excursion on a particular day increased prior to conception and peaked at 0.045 (SE = 0.012), 7 days postconception (Figure 4). We found no evidence that age impacted whether a deer performed an excursion (p = .125, SE = 0.378). The probability of being outside the SHR peaked surrounding conception, with the maximum observed value of 0.057 (SE = 0.004) occurring 1 day prior to conception (Figure 5).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Female white‐tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) are thought to choose between two behavioral strategies to maximize the quality of potential mates: sit and wait, characterized by concentrating activity within a restricted area, and excursive behavior, characterized by increased activity and excursions outside the home range. As movement patterns may influence conception, our goal was to examine the patterns of female white‐tailed deer movements to evaluate which breeding strategy was employed. We equipped 36 female white‐tailed deer with GPS collars from August 2013 to December 2015. We found that movement rate and probability of activity were greatest near the peak of the breeding season, and we observed increases in both metrics during the 40 days prior to estimated conception. Peak size of home range and core area occurred in the days surrounding conception. We found that 11 deer performed an excursion, ranging from 43 days before until 36 days after conception, with the peak probability of being outside of an individual home range occurring 1 day prior to conception. Our results suggest that female white‐tailed deer may attempt to maximize the quality of their mates by advertising availability for breeding through excursive behaviors just prior to entering estrus.

No MeSH data available.