Mate Choice in Female Red-necked Pademelons, Thylogale thetis (Marsupialia: Macropodoidea)

Authors


Department of Zoology, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales 2351, Australia. E-mail: sradford@metz.une.edu.au

Abstract

Changes in the behaviour of captive female red-necked pademelons, Thylogale thetis, before, during and after oestrus were observed relative to the location of potential male mates. A penned female was presented with four adjacent, individually caged males representing the size classes large, medium, small and subadult. The female's behaviour was videotaped for 8–9 d spanning oestrous (3 d), post-oestrous (3 d) and normal (3 d) sessions of time. Changes in the activity, orientation and location of six penned females, relative to the caged males, were transcribed from videotape. A model of female pademelon behaviour pattern was developed. Results suggest that the females spent a significantly greater amount of time directly in front of the largest available male, relative to the other three smaller males during the oestrous period only, and that a significant proportion of this time was spent involved in active behaviours (grooming and locomotion, compared with inactive behaviours of sitting and scan/sniffing). Although there was a significant preference for females to orientate their bodies away from the location of the males, they faced the males significantly more during oestrus than any other session. Furthermore, the females faced the large male significantly more frequently than any other male. This study provides evidence for mate choice by female red-necked pademelons.

Ancillary