Apollonio Marco

Mating opportunities, mate choice and parental care in two ungulates species (Alpine ibex and Alpine chamois) Mating opportunities, mate choice and parental care in two ungulates species (Alpine ibex and Alpine chamois)

Project Number: CH-4735
Project Type: Dissertation
Project Duration: 01/01/2012 - 12/31/2014 project completed
Funding Source: Europe ,
Project Leader: Prof. Marco Apollonio
Full professor of Zoology
Department of Veterinary Medicine
Via Vienna 2
IT-07100 Sassari, IT

e-Mail: marcoapo(at)uniss.it

related to this project.
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Research Areas:

other areas of environmental sciences

Mating opportunities, mate choice and parental care in two ungulates species (Alpine ibex and Alpine chamois) Studies in ungulates have often investigated the role played by males in mate choice and little is known about female mate choice. However, females should be extremely selective when choosing a partner, since reproduction is much more costly for females than males, as they have a lower potential reproductive output and a higher reproductive investment compared to males. Females must minimize the chance to loose their kids ensuring them a rapid grow to overcome the winter. The aim of this study is to investigate female mate choice, parental investments and habitat selection in two different mountain ungulate species that live in areas with difficult topographic and climatic condition: the Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) and the Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). Parental care and mating season have an impact one on the other one. Female that invest high energy in the weaning (high suckling rate that permits the increases of the benefits to the young and maintains the strong bond between mother and offspring) could be because she mates with the more attractive male and so she gain a higher fitness.

Leading questions:
In mountainous areas where weather parameters, ecological variables and behavioural cues are the main factors underlying habitat selection and determining the movements and survival of individuals, how females can spend still high energy in the mating season after the weaning? Are present some differences between chamois and ibex behaviour during the weaning? Can this explain a difference in the mating strategies of the two ungulates species? Do females show mate choice? How females choose their mate: indirectly or directly? Which is the most mobile sex during the rut? Do females wait the males in specific locations? How invest the mother in the weaning of the kids? Is this investment correlated with mate choice (more attractive the partner, more maternal care given)? Have the yearly habitat selection of males an impact on the female choice? During the ibex rut (from 1-2th of December to 15th of January) I will perform focal scan sampling on tagged females scoring different behaviour, on the Gran Paradiso National Park. In addition I record also the behaviour and the ID (if present, if not present I will record the age) of male that courtship the focal female and if there a kid also the behaviour of him. Each female will be observed for at least 4 days during the mating season, searching to observe the female during the oestrus (when she has more than 6 males as neighbours). On chamois rut the observation will be made on the Swiss National Park and I will perform focal scan sampling on tagged males scoring different behaviour and each 15 min I will record with a scan sampling the next neighbours of the focal animal. Moreover, I will record the behaviour of the females tended by a focal male. During the weaning I will perform focal scan sampling on marked female to record the time budget. Each mother-kid pair will be observed for at least 4 to 10 days each season, depending on presence and visibility. Observation will be performed from one point that permits a total view of the valley where females and kids remain during the weaning. In the case that the focal animal move away I will be follow him, if this is possible.

Tettamanti F, Grignolio S, Filli F, Apollonio M, Bize P (2014). Senescence in breeding success of female Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra): the role of female quality and age. Oecologia. DOI 10.1007/s00442-014-3197-y

Tettamanti F, Viblanc VA (2014) Influences of Mating Group Composition on the Behavioral Time-Budget of Male and Female Alpine Ibex (Capra ibex) during the Rut. PLoS ONE 9(1): e86004. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0086004

Last update: 12/29/16
Source of data: ProClim- Research InfoSystem (1993-2020)
Update the data of project: CH-4735

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