To beat or not to beat: Behavioral plasticity during the antler growth period affects cortisol but not testosterone concentrations in red deer (Cervus elaphus) males
|Kateg. publikace||Vědecké publikace impaktované|
Out of rut, male red deer (Cervus elaphus) associate themselves in bachelor groups where animals compete for rank position via agonistic interactions. In a previous study on red deer, males were recognized either as “Non-Fighters” (NF, low frequency of attacks) or “Fighters” (F, high frequency of attacks). This study, therefore, aims to verify the consistency of the inter-individual differences in fighting attitude across different social contexts and investigate whether they could be considered an individual characteristic. Behavioral consistency was presumed across three different sampling seasons, assuming that NF would have lower cortisol (C) and testosterone (T) concentrations than the F males. In 2015 the males were kept in one large group and labelled NF and F. In 2016, the herd was divided into two subgroups (“NF” and “F”) based on the frequency of attacks. Finally, in 2017, the males were divided into two randomly composed subgroups. Data about agonistic behavior and concentration of C and T were collected during each season. In 2015 the individuals differed only for the fighting attitude. After the division, the frequency of the attacks always increased, being consistently lower in NF than in F. Unexpectedly, a slight increase in the concentration of C was detected in the NF in 2016, compared to the F who experienced no difference neither in 2015 nor 2017. No significant differences were found in T. We concluded that, even though the males had shown behavioral plasticity, their diversified interaction-prone attitude had been maintained despite the modifications of the social environment.
|Projekt||Dlouhodobý koncepční rozvoj výzkumné organizace|
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