Social interactions and reproductive tactics in red–necked wallabies (Macropus rufogriseus banksianus)



    1. Department of Ecosystem Management, The University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia
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      Queensland National Parks and Wildlife Service, PO Box 1395, Rockhampton, Queensland 4700, Australia


Male red–necked wallabies established dominance relationships by fighting, and dominance rankings among males were positively correlated with body size. Females became outstandingly attractive to males during the week preceding mating, and males, who normally ranged widely and solitarily in search of mates, gathered in groups around such females. It is suggested that females, by prolonging their advertisement of oestrus, and thereby inciting sustained competitive interactions among the males who were attracted to them, contributed to a bias in the distribution of male mating success in favour of very large dominant individuals. High–ranking males mated within discrete but undefended areas of absolute dominance (‘dominions’). Direct interactions between dominion–holding males were rare, but males just below dominion–holding status often fought with one another, and were frequently harassed by dominional males.