Mating strategies and reproductive success

Image: Tim Karels

Image: Tim Karels

The aim of this study was to investigate mating strategies, male reproductive success and parasite impact in free-living male Columbian ground squirrels (Urocitellus columbianus). We applied a combination of experimental field work, observations, and molecular analyses (paternity tests). In this project, we uncovered the relationship between mating order and reproductive success of males and the first evidence for a first male advantage in this species. In addition, we demonstrated that males strategically altered their behaviour during and after copulation, depending on their position in the mating order. Interestingly, the treatment with an anti-parasite solution did not significantly affect male reproductive behaviour and hence did not affect male reproductive success.



Peter Neuhaus, University of Calgary
Redouan Bshary, University of Neuchâtel
Dik Heg, University of Bern
Bruno Betschart, University of Neuchâtel
F. Stephen Dobson, University of Auburn
Vincent Viblanc, Institut Pluridisciplinaire Hubert Curien, Strasbourg
Dave Coltman, University of Alberta
Jamie Gorrell, Vancouver Islands University
R. B. Miller Field Station