Convergent maternal care strategies in ungulates and macropods

Fisher, D. O., Blomberg, S. P. and Owens, I. P. (2002) Convergent maternal care strategies in ungulates and macropods. Evolution, 56 1: 167-176. doi:10.1554/0014-3820(2002)056[0167:CMCSIU]2.0.CO;2

Author Fisher, D. O.
Blomberg, S. P.
Owens, I. P.
Title Convergent maternal care strategies in ungulates and macropods
Journal name Evolution   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0014-3820
Publication date 2002-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1554/0014-3820(2002)056[0167:CMCSIU]2.0.CO;2
Volume 56
Issue 1
Start page 167
End page 176
Total pages 10
Place of publication Lawrence, KS, USA
Publisher The Society for the Study of Evolution
Language eng
Subject C1
270706 Life Histories (incl. Population Ecology)
780105 Biological sciences
06 Biological Sciences
060207 Population Ecology
Abstract Mammals show extensive interspecific variation in the form of maternal care. Among ungulates, there is a dichotomy between species in which offspring follow the mother (following strategy) versus species in which offspring remain concealed (hiding strategy). Here we reveal that the same dichotomy exists among macropods (kangaroos, wallabies and allies). We test three traditional adaptive explanations and one new life history hypothesis. and find very similar patterns among both ungulates and macropods. The three traditional explanations that we tested were that a ''following'' strategy is associated with (1) open habitat, (2) large mothers, and (3) gregariousness. Our new life-history hypothesis is that a following strategy'' is associated with delayed weaning, and thus with the slow end of the slow-fast mammalian life-history continuum, because offspring devote resources to locomotion rather than rapid growth. Our comparative test strongly supports the habitat structure hypothesis and provides some support for this new delayed weaning hypothesis for both ungulates and macropods. We propose that sedentary young in closed habitats benefit energetically by having milk brought to them. In open habitats, predation pressure will select against hiding. Followers will suffer slower growth to independence. Taken together, therefore, our results provide the first quantitative evidence that macropods and ungulates are convergent with respect to interspecific variation in maternal care strategy. In both clades, differences between species in the form of parental care are due to a similar interaction between habitat, social behavior, and life history.
Keyword Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
Genetics & Heredity
Antipredator Behavior
Body Size
Comparative Analysis
Maternal Investment
Parental Care
Independent Contrasts
Correlated Evolution
Deer Fawns
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:26:46 EST