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Durham University

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Publication details

Mason, T.H.E., Stephens, P.A., Willis, S.G., Chirichella, R., Apollonio, M. & Richards, S.A. (2012). Intraseasonal variation in reproductive effort: young males finish last. The American Naturalist 180(6): 823-830.

Author(s) from Durham


Age-dependent reproductive timing has been observed in females of a number of species; older females often breed earlier in the season and experience higher reproductive success as a result. However, to date, evidence for within-season variation in reproductive effort (RE) for males has been relatively weak. Males are expected to time RE in light of intraseasonal variations in the availability of receptive females and competition with other males. Young males, which are typically smaller and less experienced, might benefit from breeding later in the season, when male-male competition is less intense. Using a long-term data set of Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, we sought to evaluate the hypothesis that younger males allocate highest RE late in the breeding season, at a time when older male RE has decreased substantially. Our results support this hypothesis, which suggests that intraseasonal variation in RE may be an adaptive life-history trait for males as well as females.