Accessibility navigation


Mammal reproductive strategies driven by offspring mortality-size relationships

Sibly, R. M. and Brown, J. H. (2009) Mammal reproductive strategies driven by offspring mortality-size relationships. American Naturalist, 173 (6). E185-E199. ISSN 0003-0147

Full text not archived in this repository.

To link to this article DOI: 10.1086/598680

Abstract/Summary

Trade-offs have long been a major theme in life-history theory, but they have been hard to document. We introduce a new method that reveals patterns of divergent trade-offs after adjusting for the pervasive variation in rate of resource allocation to offspring as a function of body size and lifestyle. Results suggest that preweaning vulnerability to predation has been the major factor determining how female placental mammals allocate production between a few large and many small offspring within a litter and between a few large litters and many small ones within a reproductive season. Artiodactyls, perissodactyls, cetaceans, and pinnipeds, which give birth in the open on land or in the sea, produce a few large offspring, at infrequent intervals, because this increases their chances of escaping predation. Insectivores, fissiped carnivores, lagomorphs, and rodents, whose offspring are protected in burrows or nests, produce large litters of small newborns. Primates, bats, sloths, and anteaters, which carry their young from birth until weaning, produce litters of one or a few offspring because of the need to transport and care for them.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Faculty of Life Sciences > School of Biological Sciences
ID Code:9699
Uncontrolled Keywords:life-history theory, trade-off, litter size, offspring size, litter, frequency, litter mass, LIFE-HISTORY EVOLUTION, FAST-SLOW CONTINUUM, BODY-SIZE, STYLE, BIRDS, VIEW

Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation