Sexual Differences in Aggressive Behaviour of the Apennine Chamois


Dipartimento di Biologia Cellulare, Università di Camerino, via F. Camerini 2, I-62032 Camerino MC


The aggressive behaviour of female and male Apennine chamois has been compared quantitatively. As opposed to what males did, females significantly attacked each other less often; preferred to gore body regions with a low risk of lethal injury, made a greater use of direct forms of aggression; seldom interacted with the opponent before attacking and gored it more often. Front clashing and fighting were very rare in both sexes. Females live in resident kin-groups, while young males disperse and adults are solitary. To a large extent habitat separation occurs between the sexes. Sexual differences in patterns of aggressive behaviour may be related to the different gregariousness of females and males, probably influenced by resource availability in the habitats they use. Chamois sexes are nearly monomorphic, females bearing slightly less hooked horns than males. This species may have evolved strongly hooked weapons as a first step to advanced wrestling or butting type horns from the ancestral stiletto shape, as goats and sheep, as well as deer, have done.