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Effects of body size and home range on access to mates and paternity in male bridled nailtail wallabies
The bridled nailtail wallaby, Onychogalea fraenata, is a relatively small, solitary and sexually size dimorphic macropod. We studied the mating system of free-ranging wallabies over 3 years, using microsatellite analysis of paternity, radiotelemetry and behavioural observations. Both sexes were promiscuous, and general reproductive behaviour was similar to that of larger, better-known macropods. Home range size influenced the number of associations with oestrous females, and was a significant component of male reproductive success. Female population density varied within the site, but males with home ranges that overlapped more females did not sire more offspring. Aggression between males occurred only around oestrous females and males did not establish a predetermined dominance hierarchy. Male body weight strongly influenced priority of access to oestrous females, and was related to age. The number of times that males were seen closest to an oestrous female when other males were present (priority of access) was the most important predictor of variation in the number of offspring sired. Females mated with several males within and between oestrous cycles, and may have influenced male-male competition by prolonging advertisement of approaching oestrus, expanding their home ranges at oestrus and engaging in mate chases that attracted groups of up to six males. Despite overall similarities in the mating system of this species and that of other macropods, male mating success may b
ISSN : 0003-3472 CODEN : ANBEA8
Animal behaviour A. 1999, vol. 58, 1, pp. 121-130 [bibl. : 1 p.1/2]
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