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Aging and improving reproductive success in horses: declining residual reproductive value or just older and wiser?


Cameron, EZ and Linklater, WL and Stafford, KJ and Minot, EO, Aging and improving reproductive success in horses: declining residual reproductive value or just older and wiser? , Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 47, (4) pp. 243-249. ISSN 0340-5443 (2000) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1007/s002650050661


In many mammalian species, female success in raising offspring improves as they age. The residual reproductive value hypothesis predicts that each individ- ual offspring will be more valuable to the mother as she ages because there is less conflict between the current and potential future offspring. Therefore, as mothers age, their investment into individual offspring should in- crease. Empirical evidence for an influence of declining residual reproductive value on maternal investment is unconvincing. Older mothers may not invest more, but may be more successful due to greater experience, al- lowing them to target their investment more appropriate- ly (targeted reproductive effort hypothesis). Most studies do not preclude either hypothesis. Mare age significantly influenced maternal investment in feral horses living on the North Island of New Zealand. Older mares, that were more successful at raising foals, were more protective for the first 20 days of life, but less diligent thereafter. Total maternal input by older mothers did not seem to be any greater, but was better targeted at the most critical period for foal survival and a similar pattern was ob- served in mares that had lost a foal in the previous year. In addition, older mothers were more likely to foal in consecutive years, supporting the hypothesis that they are investing less than younger mares in individual off- spring. Therefore, older mothers seem to become more successful by targeting their investment better due to ex- perience, not by investing more in their offspring.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal developmental and reproductive biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:72611
Year Published:2000
Web of Science® Times Cited:97
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-08-29
Last Modified:2011-11-04
Downloads:1 View Download Statistics

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