TITLE

Males are faster foragers than females: intersexual differences of foraging behaviour in the Apennine chamois

AUTHOR(S)
Ferretti, Francesco; Costa, Alessia; Corazza, Marcello; Pietrocini, Venusta; Cesaretti, Gloria; Lovari, Sandro
PUB. DATE
August 2014
SOURCE
Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology;Aug2014, Vol. 68 Issue 8, p1335
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Availability of food resources and individual characteristics can influence foraging behaviour, which can differ between males and females, leading to different patterns of food/habitat selection. In dimorphic species, females are usually more selective in food choice, show greater bite rates and spend more time foraging than males. We evaluated sexual differences in foraging behaviour in Apennine chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata, during the warm season, before the rut. Both sexes selected nutritious vegetation patches and spent a comparable amount of time feeding. However, males had a significantly greater feeding intensity (bite rate) and a lower search effort for feeding (step rate), as well as they spent more time lying down than females. Females selected foraging sites closer to refuge areas than males. In chamois, sexual size dimorphism is seasonal, being negligible in winter-spring, but increasing to 30-40 % in autumn. Our results suggest that males enhance their energy and mass gain by increasing their food intake rate during the warm season, to face the costs of the mating season (November). Conversely, females seem to prioritize a fine-scale selection of vegetation and the protection of offspring. A great food intake rate of males in the warm season could have developed as a behavioural adaptation leading herbivores to the evolutionary transition from year-round monomorphism to permanent dimorphism, through seasonal dimorphism.
ACCESSION #
97051913

 

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