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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Old females rarely mate with old males in roe deer, Capreolus capreolus

Vanpe, Cecile; Gaillard, Jean-Michel; Hewison, A. J. Mark; Quemer, Erwan; Kjellander, Petter; Pellerin, Maryline; Lemaitre, Jean-Francois


Little is known about whether female mating tactics vary with age based on their preference for mates. To fill this knowledge gap, we examined how maternal age is related to the age of their mates using detailed individual long-term monitoring of a genotyped and pedigreed European roe deer (Capreolus capreolus Linnaeus, 1758) population. We found that mating between old females and prime-aged males was more frequent than mating between prime-aged females and prime-aged males. This suggests that old females avoid old mates. Old females might be more selective in their mate choice than prime-aged females owing to increased mate-sampling effort. Our finding is in line with the terminal investment/allocation hypothesis. The study of age-related variation in female mating behaviour is particularly important because this behaviour can inFLuence the intensity and direction of sexual selection and the maintenance of variation in male sexually selected traits. Further studies are needed to quantify the exact fitness benefits of age-specific mating tactics in females.


age; cervid; mate choice; mating tactic; senescence; terminal allocation; terminal investment

Published in

Biological Journal of the Linnean Society
2019, Volume: 128, number: 3, pages: 515-525

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    Behavioral Sciences Biology
    Evolutionary Biology

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