The Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is a mountain-dwelling ungulate with an extensive presence in open areas. Optimal group size results from the trade off between advantages (a reduction in the risk of predation) and disadvantages (competition between members of the herd) of group living. In addition, advantages and disadvantages of group living may vary depending on the position of each individual within the herd. Our objective was to study the effect of central vs. peripheral position in the herd on feeding and vigilance behavior in male and female Pyrenean chamois and to ascertain if a group size effect existed. We used focal animal sampling and recorded social interactions when a focal animal was involved. With males, vigilance rate was higher in the central part of the group than at the periphery, probably due to a higher density of animals in the central part of the herd and a higher probability of being disturbed by conspecifics. With females, vigilance rate did not differ according to position in the herd. Females spent more time feeding than males, and males showed a higher frequency of the vigilance behavior than females. We did not observe a clear relationship between group size and vigilance behavior. The differences in vigilance behavior might be due to social interactions. © 2010 Current Zoology.
|Publication status||Published - 4 Mar 2010|
- Antagonistic interactions
- Group size
- Pyrenean chamois