Relationship between dominance and antler cycle in white-tailed deer Odocoileus virginianus
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We tested a correlation between rank and order of casting antlers in Odocoileus virginianus and starting antler regrowth and velvet shedding according to rank. Antler casting dates were positively correlated with age and wins and losses of agonistic encounters; correlations with body mass approached significance. When age was eliminated by partial correlation, antler casting date was not correlated with other characteristics, except losses. If body mass was eliminated by partial correlation, the relationship between casting date and losses was more pronounced. Timing of antler regrowth was negatively correlated with age, body mass, rank and wins, while positively correlated with losses. The start of velvet shedding was negatively correlated with rank position. Our results are in apparent contrast with previous studies. However, our experimental group contained more individuals in a confined area than is typical for the species.
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