Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female deer confirm bigger is not always better when choosing a mate

Date:
April 6, 2011
Source:
Queen Mary, University of London
Summary:
Female deer do not always choose the bigger and dominant males to mate with, scientists have found.

Female deer do not always choose the bigger and dominant males to mate with, scientists have found.
Credit: Dina El Tounsy-Garner

Female deer do not always choose the bigger and dominant males to mate with, scientists from Queen Mary, University of London and Hartpury College have found.

The research, which was undertaken in Dublin's Phoenix Park on a herd of fallow deer, focused on females who chose not to mate with the 'top' males.

The study, published April 6 in PLoS ONE found that yearling females tended to mate with a higher proportion of younger, lower ranking males while older females actively avoided mating with them.

Alan McElligott, co-author on the study from Queen Mary, University of London said: "The findings of this study have important implications for assessing the effects of sexual selection on evolution.

"In the past, studies very much focused on the 'big' males in these types of species and why the vast majority of females mated with them. We focused instead on matings from the female perspective."

Scientists demonstrated that yearling female fallow deer mate later in the breeding season than older females, with the first yearlings not mating until eight days after the start of the season.

"This difference in yearling female matings meant that a small but consistent proportion of them do not mate with the "big and dominant" males each year.

"This indirect mate choice could result from yearling females recognizing the difficulty in carrying a 'big' male's offspring to term, but it could also be because those males are worn out by the time the yearlings are ready to mate.

"There are many possibilities as to why the yearlings display an indirect mate choice, and inexperience and their smaller body size compared to older females could also be factors.

"This interesting mate selection gives us a unique insight into evolution, providing an explanation as to why we're not seeing the male deer rapidly increase in size over time."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen Mary, University of London. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Mary E. Farrell, Elodie Briefer, Alan G. McElligott. Assortative Mating in Fallow Deer Reduces the Strength of Sexual Selection. PLoS ONE, 2011; 6 (4): e18533 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018533

Cite This Page:

Queen Mary, University of London. "Female deer confirm bigger is not always better when choosing a mate." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 April 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406192431.htm>.
Queen Mary, University of London. (2011, April 6). Female deer confirm bigger is not always better when choosing a mate. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 2, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406192431.htm
Queen Mary, University of London. "Female deer confirm bigger is not always better when choosing a mate." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/04/110406192431.htm (accessed October 2, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Attacking Superbugs

Attacking Superbugs

Ivanhoe (Oct. 1, 2014) — Two weapons hospitals can use to attack superbugs. Scientists in Ireland created a new gel resistant to superbugs, and a robot that can disinfect a room in minutes. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Cultural Learning In Wild Chimps Observed For The First Time

Newsy (Oct. 1, 2014) — Cultural transmission — the passing of knowledge from one animal to another — has been caught on camera with chimps teaching other chimps. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Earth Has Lost Half Its Vertebrate Wildlife Since 1970: WWF

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) — A new study published by the World Wide Fund for Nature found that more than half of the world's wildlife population has declined since 1970. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

Annual Dog Surfing Competition Draws California Crowds

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) — The best canine surfers gathered for Huntington Beach's annual dog surfing competition, "Surf City, Surf Dog." Duration: 01:15 Video provided by AFP
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