Horn Growth and Reproduction in a Long-Lived Male Mammal: No Compensation for Poor Early-Life Horn Growth

Willisch, Christian Simon; Biebach, I.; Marreros Canales, Nelson Antonio; Ryser-Degiorgis, Marie-Pierre; Neuhaus, P. (2015). Horn Growth and Reproduction in a Long-Lived Male Mammal: No Compensation for Poor Early-Life Horn Growth. Evolutionary biology, 42(1), pp. 1-11. Springer 10.1007/s11692-014-9294-3

[img] Text
art%3A10.1007%2Fs11692-014-9294-3.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (495kB) | Request a copy

Secondary sexual traits in males of polygynous species are important determinants of reproductive success. It is, however, unknown if and how the development of continuously growing traits at different life-stages is related to reproduction in long-lived male mammals. In this study, we evaluated the relationship of early and late horn growth on social status and reproduction in long-lived male Alpine ibex (Capra ibex). For this, we analysed individual horn growth and assessed its effect on dominance and reproduction. No evidence was detected for compensatory horn growth, as late-life horn growth positively depended on early-life horn growth in males. Still, individuals with longer horn segments grown during early adulthood experienced a stronger age-dependent length decline in annual horn growth during the late development. Accordingly, a divergence between individual growth potential and realized horn growth late in life has to be assumed. Residual age-specific horn length and length of early grown horn segments both positively affected dominance and reproductive success, whereas, contrary to our expectation, no significant effect of the length of horn segments grown during the late development was detected. Suspected higher somatic costs incurred by high-quality males during their late development might at least partly be responsible for this finding. Overall, our study suggests that the total length of horns and their early development in long-lived male Alpine ibex is a reliable indicator of reproductive success and that individuals may be unable to compensate for poor early-life growth performance at a later point in life.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP) > Center for Fish and Wildlife Health (FIWI)
05 Veterinary Medicine > Research Foci > Veterinary Public Health / Herd Health Management
05 Veterinary Medicine > Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathobiology (DIP)

UniBE Contributor:

Willisch, Christian Simon; Marreros Canales, Nelson Antonio and Ryser, Marie Pierre

Subjects:

600 Technology > 630 Agriculture

ISSN:

0071-3260

Publisher:

Springer

Language:

English

Submitter:

Lucia Gugger-Raaflaub

Date Deposited:

23 Apr 2015 12:44

Last Modified:

22 Mar 2016 15:55

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s11692-014-9294-3

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.66992

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/66992

Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback