Cherix Daniel

Does the group size in Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) change during the different periods of the rut?

Project Number: CH-4052
Project Type: Master
Project Duration: 07/01/2009 - 01/31/2011 project completed
Funding Source: other ,
Project Leader: Prof. Daniel Cherix
Département d'Ecologie et d'Evolution
Université de Lausanne
Bâtiment de Biophore
1015 Lausanne
Phone: + 41 (0) 21 692 41 87 ; +41 (0) 21 692 42 60
FAX: +41 (0) 21 692 42 65
e-Mail: daniel.cherix(at)

related to this project.
for which the project has a relevance.

Research Areas:

general biology

Results (final abstract)

Social structure provides important information about preferred or avoided companionships, thus concerning female partner selection. In polygynous ungulates the social structure is influenced by sexual segregation. Sexual segregation, defined by habitat and social segregation, depends on body size dimorphism, mating system, ecological influences and predation pressures. Alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex L. 1758) forms similar age/sex groups outside the mating periods (rut). This pattern is not rescindable during the rut due to the decrease of social segregation. Here I investigated Alpine ibex social structure during different annual periods in the Swiss National Park population, with particular attention to the rut. To interpret the pattern of association, I separated association level into two components: the general gregariousness and the preference for particular classes of associates. I examined patterns of association among age and sex classes using data of 14 years of census (1997-2010) and group time budget using data recorded during the rutting season in 2009- 2010. This was the first long-term study about association patterns concerning Alpine ibex and I found surprising results. Females were more gregarious than other classes and had equal social preferences for each class of males during the rut. These results could be evidence that females were the active units in group formation and made mate choice, supported also by the time budget analysis. Key words: Alpine ibex, Capra ibex, social structure, social segregation, specific social preference, groups behaviour, mate choice.

Leading questions:
Do group size in Alpine ibex change during the different periods of the rut? What is the duration of the group (permanent, permanent throughout the social phase only, resting aggregation, regular or irregular gathering, etc.)? In Capra ibex group there are more old males or young males in function of the number of females?
Is group size and group composition of Capra ibex influenced by precipitation and/or temperature? What relationship? Do individual male Alpine ibex change the group during the rut or do they remain always in the same group? Are there differences in the activity between old and young males during the rut?
Does Capra ibex group size influencing time budget of individuals present in group?

Tettamanti F 2011: Grouping pattern and specific social preferences in Alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex) with particular attention to the rut. Master Thesis of Science in Behaviour, Evolution and Conservation

Last update: 12/23/16
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-4052

Go Back