S. M. J. G. Steyaert and A. Endrestøl contributed equally to this paper.
The mating system of the brown bear Ursus arctos
Article first published online: 12 APR 2011
© 2011 The Authors. Mammal Review© 2011 Mammal Society
Volume 42, Issue 1, pages 12–34, January 2012
How to Cite
STEYAERT, S. M. J. G., ENDRESTØL, A., HACKLÄNDER, K., SWENSON, J. E. and ZEDROSSER, A. (2012), The mating system of the brown bear Ursus arctos. Mammal Review, 42: 12–34. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2907.2011.00184.x
- Issue published online: 6 DEC 2011
- Article first published online: 12 APR 2011
- Submitted 6 March 2010; returned for revision 16 April 2010; revision accepted 29 July 2010
- female mate choice;
- male-male competition;
- reproductive strategies;
- sexual selection
- 1Research on mating systems and reproductive strategies is valuable for providing ethological knowledge, important for the management and conservation of a species, and in a broader sense, important for biodiversity conservation.
- 2We reviewed the literature to document the mating system of the brown bear Ursus arctos. We determined that many aspects of the reproduction of the brown bear remain unclear, including (i) biological aspects, such as hormone and oestrous cycling, sperm competition, mate choice, sexually selected infanticide, etc. and (ii) human impacts on the mating system, occurring when humans alter population size and structure, through, for example, hunting or habitat degradation.
- 3We considered three mating system classification frameworks from the literature (Emlen & Oring 1977, Clutton-Brock 1989, Shuster & Wade 2003) and applied various brown bear populations to them. We did this (i) to document the plasticity of the mating system of the brown bear, and (ii) to find commonalities among the reported mating system classifications in order to provide a general and common classification of the brown bear's mating system.
- 4The mating system of the brown bear can, in general, be classed as ‘polygamous’. Subclassifications can nevertheless be valuable on smaller spatial scales.
- 5Within the polygamous mating system of the brown bear, biological aspects and human impacts can influence reproductive strategies at the individual and population level. Mating system classification frameworks often lack a common terminology, which contributes to the variety of published classifications of the mating system of the brown bear.