Navigation Links
Larger female hyenas produce more offspring
Date:3/23/2011

EAST LANSING, Mich. When it comes to producing more offspring, larger female hyenas outdo their smaller counterparts.

A new study by Michigan State University researchers, which appears in Proceedings of the Royal Society, revealed this as well as defined a new way to measure spotted hyenas' size.

"This is the first study of its kind that provides an estimate of lifetime selection on a large carnivore," said MSU graduate student Eli Swanson, who published the paper with MSU faculty members Ian Dworkin and Kay Holekamp, all members of the BEACON Center for the Study of Evolution in Action. "In short, we were able to document that larger female hyenas have more cubs over their lifetime than do smaller females as well as develop a novel approach for estimating body size."

Size can be one of the most important traits affecting an animal's life. It influences eating, getting eaten, speed and agility, and attractiveness to potential mates. However, overall height and weight measurements may not capture differences in more specific traits like leg length that might be more important in survival.

To identify the most-important traits, researchers sedated hyenas in Kenya and took 13 measurements on each subject, including total body length, skull size and leg length. They found that while overall size didn't affect reproductive success, some clusters of traits did. They also learned that the length of the lower leg, the height at the shoulder and body length were all individually associated with more reproductive success.

"Our results highlight the importance of choosing appropriate measures when estimating animal body size," Swanson said. "They also suggest researchers should take caution in interpreting selection on size-related traits as selection on size itself."

Spotted hyenas are particularly interesting because females are larger than males, which is extremely unusual among mammals. In most mammals, the size difference is easy to explain. Larger males get more food and attract more females, but females are faced with a tradeoff between their own body size and the energy needed for pregnancy and lactation. As of yet, the size difference between the sexes is still unsolved.

However, researchers have been able to shed light on the reasons for the large females' success. They found that larger females reproduce more often and live longer after beginning to reproduce, when compared to smaller females.

Estimating fitness or success at surviving and reproducing can be difficult with spotted hyenas, which can live at least 19 years in the wild. Since Holekamp's field study of spotted hyenas has been ongoing for more than 20 years, the researchers were able to count the number of surviving offspring produced by a female in her lifetime, as well as the length of her total reproductive lifespan.


'/>"/>

Contact: Layne Cameron
layne.cameron@ur.msu.edu
517-353-8819
Michigan State University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Kenyas fisheries management promotes species that grow larger and live longer
2. How plants counteract against the shade of larger neighbors
3. Plants play larger role than thought in cleaning up air pollution
4. Climate change causes larger, more plentiful marmots, study shows
5. Apples grow larger when cells dont divide, study shows
6. NOAA-supported scientists predict larger than average Gulf dead zone
7. Reseachers predict larger-than-average Gulf dead zone; impact of oil spill unclear
8. When the dinner bell rings for seafloor scavengers, larger animals get first dibs
9. New study suggests minke whales are not preventing recovery of larger whales
10. Sexual plant reproduction: Male and female talk in the same way as do cells in your brain
11. Maternal fructose intake impacts female and male fetuses differently
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/22/2016)... , June 22, 2016   ... management and verification solutions, has partnered with ... software solutions for Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks ... provides products that add functional enhancements to ... provides corporations and venues with an automated ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... June 21, 2016 NuData Security announced today ... role of principal product architect and that ... of customer development. Both will report directly to ... The moves reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its ... high customer demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... SAN FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... Market size is expected to reach USD ... report by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation ... and banking applications are expected to drive the ... ) , The development of ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... ClinCapture, ... Pennsylvania Convention Center and will showcase its product’s latest features from June 26 ... presenting a scientific poster on Disrupting Clinical Trials in The Cloud during the ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Velocity Products, ... tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively for Okuma CNC machining centers at The ... of a collaboration among several companies with expertise in toolholding, cutting tools, machining ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 ReportsnReports.com adds ... to its pharmaceuticals section with historic and forecast ... much more. Complete report on the ... profiling 15 companies and supported with 261 tables ... . The Global Cell Culture ...
(Date:6/22/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... The global biomarkers market ... 2013. The market is expected to grow at a five-year compound ... from $50.6 billion in 2015 to $96.6 billion in 2020. ... (2015 to 2020) are discussed. As well, new products approved in ...
Breaking Biology Technology: