Variation in Mating Systems of Fallow Deer (Dama dama) in Relation to Ecology


Department of Biology, Building 44, The University, Southampton, SO9 5NH, U. K.


Variation in mating systems of fallow deer (Dama dama L.) was studied in wild and park populations and could be broadly distinguished into 7 categories: following, harems, dominance groups, stands, temporary stands, multiple stands, and leks. The ecological factors which exerted the greatest influence on mating systems were buck density, doe density, and habitat structure and tree cover, resulting in pronounced changes in the degree and type of territoriality observed. Individual male reproductive success was highly skewed in all systems. A greater range of concurrent mating strategies was observed in wild populations than in parks.