Female Reproductive Strategies: Individual Life Histories

Cynthia J. Moss and Phyllis C. Lee

in The Amboseli Elephants

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780226542232
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226542263 | DOI:
Female Reproductive Strategies: Individual Life Histories

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  • Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology


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This chapter first focuses on the question, how do individuals maximize their reproductive potential? In this context, it explores age at first reproduction, sex ratios and calf sex, calf survival, and age-specific variation in inter-birth intervals. The chapter then addresses the question, how does the social context affect reproduction for elephant females? It examines whether there is evidence of hierarchical or status effects on reproductive potential, and finally, deals with the question, how do both the individual and the social context for reproduction change over a life span? The chapter uses the conventional concept of a strategy as that of consistent and measurable outcomes, which vary between age-classes, between matriarchs and subordinate females, and among individuals in relation to complex individual, group, or time-specific traits. It explores reproductive strategies from the perspectives of consistency and variation in tactics—an exploration of alternatives available to females.

Keywords: calf sex; reproductive potential; sex ration; life histories; inter-birth intervals; elephant females

Chapter.  11501 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Animal Behaviour and Behavioural Ecology

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