Meeting Abstract

S8-1.7  Jan. 6  Sexual segregation in ungulates: proximate and ultimate causes RUCKSTUHL, KE; University of Calgary

The even-toed ungulates are the most successful group of large herbivores, being native to almost every continent, and inhabiting all latitudes and altitudes. In most social ungulate species, males and females live in separate groups outside the breeding season, sometimes using different home ranges and habitat types. In most of these species males are larger in body size than females. This dimorphism in body size can lead to sexual differences in ecology and behaviour making it difficult for the two sexes to stay in the same group. It is important for our better understanding of the evolution of sociality to find out why sexual segregation (by habitat or socially) is so widespread not only in ungulates but also in other mammals. Sexual segregation has important implication for management and conservation and might be the key to understand differences in mating systems between species. I will discuss the ecology of the two sexes by reviewing our current understanding of the proximate and ultimate causes of sexual segregation- comparing a range of species within ruminants and hindgut fermenters. Finally, by looking at the degrees of sexual size dimorphism in different species we’ll be able to make predictions on the degree of sexual segregation to be found.