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Seasonal and Sexual Patterns of Growth and Condition of Reindeer Introduced into South Georgia

N. Leader-Williams and C. Ricketts
Oikos
Vol. 38, No. 1 (Jan., 1982), pp. 27-39
Published by: Wiley on behalf of Nordic Society Oikos
DOI: 10.2307/3544564
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3544564
Page Count: 13
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Seasonal and Sexual Patterns of Growth and Condition of Reindeer Introduced into South Georgia
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Abstract

The pattern of growth, timing and magnitude of seasonal changes in body weight and condition were compared between male and female reindeer. The data were derived from 300 animals shot during an eighteen month period on the sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Growth in length and weight from early foetal life until one year of age was logistic. A sex difference in skeletal size became apparent only after one year of age although by then males were already significantly heavier than females. Organ and gastrointestinal weights changed first in the annual cycle and these changes were related to annual changes in forage quality and availability. In contrast, changes in body and leg weights and in fat reserves were related to reproductive activity: in males they declined after the rut whereas in females they reached a minimum around parturition. Although both sexes probably metabolized muscle protein as well as fat during the winter, male reindeer lost twice as much of their body tissue during the annual cycle as females. These results indicate that the cost of reproduction is greater to males than to females and this reflects their different reproductive strategies. /// У самцов и самок северного оленя сравнивали ритм роста, сроки и величи-ну сезонных колебаний веса. Данные получены на основе исследования 300 животных, отстреленных в течение 18 мес. на субантарктическсм о-ве в Южной Джорджии. Рост в длину и прибавка веса, начиная от раннего эмбри-онального периода до годовалого возраста описываются логистической кри-вой. Половые различия в величине скелета становятся заметными лишь пос-ле года, хотя уже к этому времени самцы значительно тяжелее самок. Вес внутренних органов и жедудочно-кишечного тракта в первую очередь изме-няются в течение годового цикла, и эти изменения зависят от годовых из-менений качества и доступности пиши. В отличие от этого, изменения весе тела и конечностей и запасы жира зависят от активности размножения. у самцов они снижаются после гона, а у самок доститают минимума в период родов. Хотя самцы и самки истюльзуют мьшечньй протеин для общенных про-цессов, как и жир, в зимний период самцы теряют вдвое больше в весе тка-ней, чем самки, в течение годового цикла. Эти результаты показывают, что траты на размножение у самцов больше, чем у самок, и это отражает их различия в стратегии размножения.

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