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Female American black bears do not alter space use or movements to reduce infanticide risk.


ABSTRACT: Infanticide occurs in a variety of animal species and infanticide risk has large implications for the evolution of behavior. Further, the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation predicts that for species in which infanticide occurs, females with dependent young will avoid males to reduce risk of sexually-selected infanticide. Infanticide risk-avoidance behavior has been studied primarily in social species, but also occurs in some solitary species. We used generalized linear mixed models to determine if space use and movements of female American black bears (Ursus americanus) during the breeding season were consistent with the sex hypothesis of sexual segregation in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, USA. Space use and movements of female black bears (n = 16) were not consistent with avoidance behavior to reduce sexually-selected infanticide risk. Females with cubs occupied core areas (mean = 4.64 km2, standard error [SE] = 1.28) and home ranges (mean = 19.46 km2, SE = 5.10) of similar size to females without cubs (core area [mean = 4.11 km2, SE = 0.59]; home range [mean = 16.07 km2, SE = 2.26]), and those core areas and home ranges were not in areas with lesser relative probability of male use. Additionally, females with cubs did not reduce movements during times of day when male movements were greatest. As female bears do avoid potentially infanticidal males in populations with greater levels of infanticide, female black bears may exhibit variation in avoidance behavior based on the occurrence of infanticide.

SUBMITTER: Norton DC 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC6138387 | BioStudies | 2018-01-01

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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