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Inter-individual associations and social structure of a mouflon population (Ovis orientalis musimon)

Abstract : We analysed individual associations between mouflon (Ovis orientalis musimon) observed during one year in order to find ontogenetic patterns underlying the social structure of the population. A correspondence factorial analysis was performed on Simpson's coefficients to compare association profiles. No strong association was found between adults but some of the young adult females maintained a preferential bond with their mother until the age of three. Yearling males were firstly unstable in their social relations and subsequently developed a strong preference for peers (the preferred companion(s) of young adult males were always young adult males). Animals did not prefer to associate with other individuals of their own family (Wilcoxon test: n = 53; z = 0.463; a < 0.01). Localized abundant food sources caused large regroupings during spring. This was the only case where we noted a series of observations where the same unrelated animals were seen together. With the exception of the mother-offspring relationship, individual social preferences were based on the sex and age of the partner rather than on identity. The existence of social behaviour profiles dependent on sex and age is proposed to explain the above results.
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Submitted on : Monday, September 19, 2016 - 4:49:38 PM
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Yvonnick Le Pendu, L. Briedermann, Jean-François Gerard, M.L. Maublanc. Inter-individual associations and social structure of a mouflon population (Ovis orientalis musimon). Behavioural Processes, Elsevier, 1995, 34 (1), pp.67-80. ⟨10.1016/0376-6357(94)00055-L⟩. ⟨hal-01368563⟩



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