Dancing to a different tune: changing reproductive seasonality in an introduced chital deer population

Kelly, Catherine L., Schwarzkopf, Lin, Gordon, Iain J., Pople, Anthony, Kelly, David L., and Hirsch, Ben T. (2022) Dancing to a different tune: changing reproductive seasonality in an introduced chital deer population. Oecologia, 200. pp. 285-294.

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Abstract

Male and female reproductive behaviour is typically synchronised. In species such as those in the family Cervidae, reproductive timing is often cued by photoperiod, although in females, it can be dependent on body condition. When a species is introduced to a novel environment, the environment changes, or responses of the sexes to such cues differ, asynchronous reproductive behaviour between males and females may occur. We investigated the seasonality of reproductive behaviour in introduced chital deer in northern Queensland by examining male antler phase in relation to female conception rates. We then analysed the influence of different variables likely to affect the timing of male and female reproductive physiology. The lowest percentage of chital in hard antler in any 1 month in this study was 35% (Fig. 1), but the average value was closer to 50%, thus there was a seasonal peak in antler phase linked with photoperiod. Females conceived at any time of year, but were strongly influenced by the amount of rainfall 3 months prior to conception. This resulted in varying conception peaks year-to-year that often did not correspond to the male’s peak in hard antler. In this system, a proportion of males and females were physiologically and behaviourally ready to mate at any time of the year. We predict that differences in the timing of the peaks between the males and females will lead to increased reproductive skew (variation in reproductive success among individual males). This pattern may select for different mating strategies or physiological mechanisms to increase reproductive success.

Item ID: 75880
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1939
Keywords: Invasive species, Seasonality, Reproductive physiology, Reproductive skew, Deer
Copyright Information: © The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Date Deposited: 31 Aug 2022 08:47
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310308 Terrestrial ecology @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180602 Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in terrestrial environments @ 50%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1806 Terrestrial systems and management > 180606 Terrestrial biodiversity @ 50%
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