Different maternal investment strategies for male and female calves in a polygynous mammal

CEACERO, Francisco, KOMÁRKOVÁ, Martina, GARCIA, Andres, J. a GALLEGO, Laureano. Different maternal investment strategies for male and female calves in a polygynous mammal. Current Zoology, 2019, 65, 269-277. ISSN 1674-5507.
Kateg. publikaceVědecké publikace impaktované
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Maternal effects occur when the phenotype of the mother influences that of the young to the detriment of her survival, growth or fitness. The investment of the mother can be affected by maternal body condition and/or experience. Trivers-Willard Hypothesis (TWH) and Local Resource Competition Hypothesis (LRCH) are the main hypotheses used to explain bias in birth sex-ratios in mammals, as well as for sex-biased maternal investment. Both hypotheses suggest that a different amount of investment must be expected according to the sex of the young. However, recent studies suggest that these differences are not in quantity but in the strategies: mechanisms and objectives may differ for each sex. We studied how maternal characteristics (age, body mass, body condition, and dominance status) influence relevant aspects of the birth and early growth of the calf (birth date, birth body mass, body mass at weaning, and body condition at weaning) separately for each sex; and how that investment is mediated by milk production and composition (lactose, fat, and protein). One hundred eighty-eight newborns from 75 captive red deer hinds aged from 2 to 19 years were analyzed. The main differential investment observed was related to birth date: when producing a female, hinds give birth earlier in the season only if they have a good body condition; however, when gestating a male it is the older hinds those which deliver earlier. Subsequently, milk production and composition are correlated with birth body mass in female calves, but to weaning body mass in males. Thus, only hind body mass affects the weaning body mass of female calves, compared with age and hind body mass in males. These results suggest that while TWH fits the maternal investment strategy found for male calves, it is LRCH which correlates with the maternal investment patterns observed for females

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