Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Deer honesty: Mating deer calls change year-by-year with status of deer

Date:
April 25, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
The vocalizations or "groans" of male fallow deer provide rivals and potential mates with an honest account of the emitting animal's competitive abilities. A study describes how the acoustic qualities of a deer's call change year by year and reflect changes in status and age.

A male fallow deer in rutting season. The vocalisations or 'groans' of male fallow deer provide rivals and potential mates with an honest account of the emitting animal's competitive abilities.
Credit: iStockphoto/Cay-Uwe Kulzer

The vocalisations or 'groans' of male fallow deer provide rivals and potential mates with an honest account of the emitting animal's competitive abilities. A study, published in the open access journal BMC Biology, describes how the acoustic qualities of a deer's call change year by year and reflect changes in status and age.

Related Articles


Alan McElligott and Elodie Briefer from Queen Mary, University of London together with Elisabetta Vannoni, University of Zurich, studied fallow deer, during four consecutive breeding seasons. McElligott said, "As males aged, their dominance ranks changed and rank was a good predictor of mating success. Their calls contained features that were honest signals, modified dynamically according to male quality, and showing a very robust example of 'truth in advertising' in animal communication."

The researchers recorded all male-male competition and all matings between dawn and dusk every day during the rut. They also recorded the vocalisations of each male. Combining the results, they found that as well as containing accurate information about a male's competitive abilities, vocal cues of an individual's identity were partially conveyed in the same components of groans. Unlike the information about quality however, these identity signals were unreliable during the animal's lifetime. According to McElligott, "In addition to fallow bucks groans being honest signals of age and competitiveness or rank, we've shown that a buck's 'vocal identity' changes substantially from one year to the next, while genetic identity of course remains exactly the same. Often, researchers do not consider that the vocalisations of animals change as they age."

All of the males in the study had been individually tagged as fawns, which allowed McElligott and his colleagues to follow the same individual males as they aged, with additional details of reproductive success, dominance and detailed records of their calls each year. He said, "Logistically, this is extremely difficult and that is why these data are so important. This study should give people a better idea of what is happening when they see male deer active during the rut, calling and fighting. It would not surprise me if what we found in fallow deer is also eventually found to be the case for other species of animals in which males call a lot during the breeding season and live for several years."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Elodie Briefer, Elisabetta Vannoni and Alan G McElligott. Quality prevails over identity in the sexually selected vocalisations of an ageing mammal. BMC Biology, 2010, 8:35 DOI: 10.1186/1741-7007-8-35

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Deer honesty: Mating deer calls change year-by-year with status of deer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093209.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, April 25). Deer honesty: Mating deer calls change year-by-year with status of deer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093209.htm
BioMed Central. "Deer honesty: Mating deer calls change year-by-year with status of deer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100409093209.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Existing Chemical Compounds Could Revive Failing Antibiotics, Says Danish Scientist

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A team of scientists led by Danish chemist Jorn Christensen says they have isolated two chemical compounds within an existing antipsychotic medication that could be used to help a range of failing antibiotics work against killer bacterial infections, such as Tuberculosis. Jim Drury went to meet him. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Monarch Butterflies Descend Upon Mexican Forest During Annual Migration

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 19, 2014) Millions of monarch butterflies begin to descend onto Mexico as part of their annual migration south. Rough Cut (no reporter narration) Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins