A case of male infanticide in captive sika deer (Cervus nippon)

PLUHÁČEK, Jan, BLAHUTOVÁ, Blanka a BARTOŠ, Luděk. A case of male infanticide in captive sika deer (Cervus nippon). Behaviour, 2022, 159, 491-500. ISSN 0005-7959.
Kateg. publikaceVědecké publikace impaktované
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Male infanticide has been reported in wide range of mammalian taxa however it remains very rare in even-toed ungulates where it was documented in two species only. Among six hypotheses explaining this phenomenon, the sexual selection hypothesis is supported by the largest evidence in mammals. Here, we report the first case of male infanticide in sika deer (Cervus nippon) which occurred at Ostrava Zoo. At the end of rutting season, new male had been joined with two pregnant females that successfully gave birth and reared offspring in his presence then. However, in the next season, the same male attacked and killed his own newborn female offspring. Since this male was separated from the herd for most of the time in the rut, we argue that he could be confused about paternity. Therefore, this case of infanticide might be driven by the same mechanism as that which is in line with the sexual selection hypothesis. In addition, based on our evidence we cannot reject the social pathology hypothesis as an alternative explanation.

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