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Journal Articles Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences Year : 2023

Reproductive tactics, birth timing and the risk-resource trade-off in an income breeder

Anne Loison

Abstract

In variable environments, habitats that are rich in resources often carry a higher risk of predation. As a result, natural selection should favour individuals that balance allocation of time to foraging versus avoiding predation through an optimal decision-making process that maximizes fitness. The behavioural trade-off between resource acquisition and risk avoidance is expected to be particularly acute during gestation and lactation, when the energetic demands of reproduction peak. Here, we investigated how reproductive female roe deer adjust their foraging activity and habitat use during the birth period to manage this trade-off compared with non-reproductive juveniles, and how parturition date constrains individual tactics of risk-resource management. Activity of reproductive females more than doubled immediately following parturition, when energy demand is highest. Furthermore, compared with non-reproductive juveniles, they increased their exposure to risk by using open habitat more during daytime and ranging closer to roads. However, these post-partum modifications in behaviour were particularly pronounced in late-parturient females who adopted a more risk-prone tactic, presumably to compensate for the growth handicap of their late-born offspring. In income breeders, individuals that give birth late may be constrained to trade risk avoidance for foraging during peak allocation to reproduction, with probable consequences for individual fitness.
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Dates and versions

hal-04291894 , version 1 (23-11-2023)

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Laura Benoit, Nicolas Morellet, Nadège Bonnot, Bruno Cargnelutti, Yannick Chaval, et al.. Reproductive tactics, birth timing and the risk-resource trade-off in an income breeder. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2023, 290 (2009), pp.20230948. ⟨10.1098/rspb.2023.0948⟩. ⟨hal-04291894⟩
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