Navigation Links
Mule deer moms rescue other fawns

Mule deer are giving new meaning to watching out for other mothers' kids.

An intriguing study of mule deer and whitetail deer conducted by the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and the University of Lethbridge, also in Canada, showed that both species responded to the recorded distress calls of fawns, similar to the responses elicited when coyotes attack fawns, with mule deer mothers responding to both whitetail and mule deer calls, even when their own fawn stood next to them. In contrast, the whitetail mothers responded only to their own species' call, and only when they could not see their own fawn.

"The fact that mule deer ran to the speaker when their own fawn was standing next to them safe and sound revealed they do not help other fawns because they mistake them for their own," said lead author Susan Lingle, who conducted the research as a postdoctoral fellow in biological sciences at the University of Alberta and in psychology at the University of Lethbridge.

"It was surprising just how indiscriminate mule deer females were. For example, the females that weren't even mothers also ran to the speakers to help fawns. That would not be expected if females were simply trying to protect their own fawns."

The results appear in this month's issue of Animal Behaviour.

In field trials using speakers that broadcast the calls of fawns under threat, the mule deer came to the speaker and stayed there as long as the calls played, twisting and turning as they confronted the perceived attackers. Whitetail mothers that came close to the speaker tended to withdraw right away and then stayed safely outside that distance.

The behaviour of mule deer defies traditional explanations that parental care, kin selection or reciprocity play a part in the defence of fawns other than their own. But while the study's findings seem to point to mule deer as superior mothers, the motivation for looking out for other fawns i s likely based not on altruism but on simple survival, said Lingle.

"Having a rigid and aggressive response to the simple sound of a fawn distress call may ensure effective defence of a female's own offspring, even though this means the female invests time and energy and puts herself at risk by helping many other animals. In contrast, a whitetail mother waits to assess whether a fawn is her own before she steps in to defend it. As a result, whitetail fawns suffer considerably more predation during the first months of life than do mule deer fawns."

Mule deer may have developed a more effective aggressive defence because they rely on fighting to protect themselves against predators year-round, while whitetails and many other species restrict aggressive defence to just the youngest fawns. Whitetails rely on flight rather than fight for most of their lives, so this may affect their ability to mount an aggressive defence," Lingle said.


'"/>

Source:University of Alberta


Related biology news :

1. Climate change: The rice genome to the rescue
2. Batfish to the rescue!
3. Angelman syndrome deficits rescued in mice
4. Adding Radiation Therapy To Chemotherapy Improves Survival In Patients With High-risk Breast Cancer
5. Another Look Finds Promising Proteomics Test is Not Biologically Plausible
6. Elephants imitate truck noises, other animals
7. Deficiency of growth hormone and IGF-1 reduces cancer and kidney disease, but creates other problems
8. NJIT Presidential Award winner takes stem cell research another step
9. New Treatment Rivals Chemotherapy For Lymphoma, Study Finds
10. NASA links nanobacteria to kidney stones and other diseases
11. Anti cancer virotherapy well tolerated in first human administration, research finds

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:12/20/2016)... 2016   Valencell , the leading innovator ... STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving ... today the launch of a new, highly accurate ... includes ST,s compact SensorTile turnkey multi-sensor ... sensor system. Together, SensorTile and Benchmark deliver the ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... and BADEN-BADEN, Germany , December 15, ... global financial services provider, today announced an agreement with NuData ... biometrics, to join forces. The partnership will enable clients to ... in compliance with local data protection regulation. ... In order to provide ...
(Date:12/15/2016)... "Increase in mobile transactions is driving the growth of ... expected to grow from USD 4.03 billion in 2015 ... of 29.3% between 2016 and 2022. The market is ... smart devices, government initiatives, and increasing penetration of e-commerce ... to grow at a high rate during the forecast ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... , ... Thirty-six startup companies in University City and Center City have been ... Economic Development in 2016 as part of the Keystone Innovation Zone (KIZ) Tax Credit ... and represent the highest number of awards to the largest number of companies in ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... Jan. 18, 2017  Caris Life Sciences, a ... Foundation, the largest private funder of pancreatic cancer ... evaluating the impact of immunotherapy in the treatment ... enrollment services to identify potential trial candidates based ... treating physicians and study investigators. The Lustgarten Foundation ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... ... January 17, 2017 , ... LGC Maine Standards ... VALIDATE® SP2 calibration verification / linearity test kit. VALIDATE® SP2 evaluates Albumin, C-reactive ... SP2 kit is prepared using the CLSI recommended “equal delta” method for linearity ...
(Date:1/17/2017)... 2017  An international team of researchers from ... Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre/University of Manitoba have ... health need affecting nearly one in 15 Americans. ... their results identify small molecule drugs with neuroprotective ... injury in animal models of metabolic, chemical and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: