Female reproductive decisions in pronghorn, from mate choice to maternal expenditure


Wiseman, Patryce Avsharian.. (2008). Female reproductive decisions in pronghorn, from mate choice to maternal expenditure. Theses and Dissertations Collection, University of Idaho Library Digital Collections.

Female reproductive decisions in pronghorn, from mate choice to maternal expenditure
Wiseman, Patryce Avsharian.
This dissertation examines the method and consequences of female mate choice in pronghorn (Antilocapra americana), as well as other behaviors associated with reproduction and parental care. Females were more likely to mate with and less likely to leave males that performed vigorously. Primiparous females sampled more males than did multiparous females, perhaps because multiparous females used information about male quality gained during previous years. Pronghorn mate sampling most closely resembled a comparative Bayes tactic. Females gained indirect benefits to mate choice through increased offspring fitness. Offspring of preferred males exhibited higher survival to weaning than offspring of nonpreferred males. There were no differences in maternal expenditure during lactation associated with sire class of offspring. Male harem-defense is likely an honest indicator of male quality, and females may obtain good genes by mating with vigorous males. We found no association between fawn heterozygosity or fluctuating asymmetry and sire class. Neither individual nor single-locus heterozygosity were associated with fitness traits in fawns. Heterozygosity was correlated across loci within individuals, which suggests that our estimates of heterozygosity were good predictors of inbreeding. We believe this is the first report of a lack of heterozygosity-fitness correlation combined with a heterozygosity-heterozygosity correlation within individuals. Fluctuating asymmetry of hoof length was lower in fawns born to older mothers and fawns surviving to weaning. If older mothers are able to provide fawns with reduced developmental stress, their fawns may experience both increased symmetry and survival compared to fawns born to younger mothers. Examination of birth-site fidelity of individual females revealed 82% changed locations between years. Females that exhibited birth site fidelity had weaned more fawns and experienced fewer fawn mortality events in the previous year than females that changed birth sites. Success in the previous year was associated with subsequent birth site selection. Females appeared to reduce maternal expenditure during lactation following dry summers. Three suckling variables (suckling rate, maternal termination, and suckling success) estimated maternal expenditure, but suckling rate was the least sensitive to differences between years. Maternal expenditure during lactation seemed to be at a maximal level and sensitive to changing environmental conditions.
Thesis (Ph. D., Zoology)--University of Idaho, March 2008.
Major Professor:
John A. Byers.
Defense Date:
March 2008.
Format Original:
ix, 125 leaves :ill. ;29 cm.

Contact us about this record

In Copyright - Educational Use Permitted. For more information, please contact University of Idaho Library Special Collections and Archives Department at
Standardized Rights: