Mother — Offspring Conflict in the Saharan Arrui, Ammotragus lervia sahariensis: Relation to Weaning and Mother's Sexual Activity

Authors


Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas, CSIC, C/General Segura 1, 04001 Almería, Spain. E-mail: cass@eeza.csic.es

Abstract

Behavioural conflict between mother and offspring was investigated in a captive population of the Saharan arrui (Ammotragus lervia sahariensis, Artiodactyla: Bovidae). The frequency of agonistic behaviours (mother's aggressiveness and calf's retreats) and unsuccessful suckling attempts, Hinde's proximity index and the distances between mother and calf have been analysed in relation to weaning and sexual activity of the mother. Mothers that conceive in the following mating season accelerate the weaning process of their current offspring; furthermore, high-ranking females wean their male calves earlier. Behavioural conflict occurs during the resumption of the mother's sexual activity; however, no conflict appears to happen during weaning.

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