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Mechanics and function of territorial behaviour in klipspringer

Roberts, Steward Craig; (1995) Mechanics and function of territorial behaviour in klipspringer. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This study investigates the mechanics and function of territorial behaviour in klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus Zimmermann 1783), a small monogamous antelope. Data were collected during an 18-month field study on one captive and two wild populations in south-western Zimbabwe. Territories are defended in two main ways: (1) indirectly, through construction and maintenance of a scent marking system, and (2) directly, by actively chasing and engaging neighbouring groups. Territories are demarcated with a large number of marks, carefully positioned at both regional and local levels in order to maximise their detection by intruding conspecifics. Seasonal variations in marking rates and spatial deployment, and the immediate context of scent marking by males and females are described. Both pair members typically scent mark at each marking site, but females initiate the majority of marking bouts; males typically overmark female scent but take minimal responsibility in determining spatial strategies. Interactions between neighbouring captive groups indicate that aggression is primarily intrasexual, that females take active roles in territorial encounters and that scent marking may be a form of directed sex-specific communication. The importance of females' territorial interests and aggression is highlighted by the distribution of female-hornedness in populations within klipspringers geographical range. To explain this, the incidence of female-hornedness is first examined across the ruminants using a comparative method based on phylogeny. The unifying explanation for hornedness is resource competition between females. Specifically, horned populations have potentially higher encounter rates than hornless ones. Klipspringers are found to be the most obligately monogamous of the small antelopes. Hypotheses for female dispersion and male monogamy are compared. Feeding competition is considered to be the primary determinant of female dispersion, while males form lasting pairbonds with females in response to predation pressure. In light of these results, the function of territoriality, and its possible sex-specificity, is discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Mechanics and function of territorial behaviour in klipspringer
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
Keywords: Biological sciences; Klipspringer; Territorial behavior
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10099869
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