Tettamanti, Federico (2015) Behavioural ecology of Alpine ungulates mating opportunities, mate choice and reproductive success in two ungulate species (Alpine ibex and Alpine chamois). Doctoral Thesis.
The crucial decisions in an animal life are how allocate available energy in order to maximize their fitness. In species living in harsh and high seasonal environments, such as in Alpine ecosystems, the maximization of fitness leads the adoption of different life history strategies, permitting to individuals to answer optimally at the trade-offs between life history trait occurring in life. Trade-offs in time and energy allocation shape many aspects of individual’s decisions and animal behaviour. Seeing information on life history traits are lacking for females Alpine ibex (Capra ibex) and Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra), I provided an investigation on social factors, such as the group member composition, choice of the partner and investments in reproduction in late age. These are traits that impose a trade-off among survival, maintenance and reproduction. First, I demonstrated that the group member composition influence the balance between different activities in males and females ibex. Second, I provided evidences of female ibex sexual behaviour able to distinguish and to prefer males higher in hierarchy. Third I highlighted the importance of the individual quality in dealing the cost of reproduction, in female ibex and chamois, and also in masking reproductive senescence, in chamois. The results indicate as female Alpine species adopt adequate life history strategies over time able to maximize their fitness.
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