Optimal group size, dispersal decisions and postdispersal relationships in female African lions

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

43 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We used 40 years of long-term data to test whether dispersal decisions of female African lions, Panthera leo, are sensitive to variations in pride size, interpride competition and the quality of their natal territory. Per capita reproductive success reached a maximum at 3-6 females on the open grass plains of the Serengeti and at 3-11 females in the woodlands. Approximately 50% of female cohorts dispersed when potential pride size exceeded the habitat-specific optimum, whereas only 9% of cohorts dispersed at smaller pride sizes. Cohorts of one to two females rarely dispersed, especially in high-density habitats. Thus, pride size typically remained within the range that maximized individual reproductive success. In the high-density woodland habitat, females were less likely to disperse from prides that were surrounded by large numbers of unrelated females, as would be predicted on the basis of habitat saturation. However, the number of unrelated neighbours did not affect dispersal decisions of females living in the sparsely occupied plains habitat. After pride fission, daughters settled closer to their mothers in areas where there were greater numbers of unrelated female neighbours, but territories were just as exclusive as between unrelated neighbouring prides. Maternal prides in high-quality areas shared a greater percentage of their territory with descendant prides, but this tolerance diminished as relatedness declined through time.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)949-954
Number of pages6
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Volume77
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2009

Fingerprint

Panthera leo
group size
habitat
habitats
reproductive success
woodlands
woodland
decision
relatedness
tolerance
grass
saturation
grasses

Keywords

  • African lion
  • Panthera leo
  • dispersal
  • group fission
  • optimal group size
  • postdispersal relationship

Cite this

@article{d396bff0ce6049a494dde9d7a54e0f68,
title = "Optimal group size, dispersal decisions and postdispersal relationships in female African lions",
abstract = "We used 40 years of long-term data to test whether dispersal decisions of female African lions, Panthera leo, are sensitive to variations in pride size, interpride competition and the quality of their natal territory. Per capita reproductive success reached a maximum at 3-6 females on the open grass plains of the Serengeti and at 3-11 females in the woodlands. Approximately 50{\%} of female cohorts dispersed when potential pride size exceeded the habitat-specific optimum, whereas only 9{\%} of cohorts dispersed at smaller pride sizes. Cohorts of one to two females rarely dispersed, especially in high-density habitats. Thus, pride size typically remained within the range that maximized individual reproductive success. In the high-density woodland habitat, females were less likely to disperse from prides that were surrounded by large numbers of unrelated females, as would be predicted on the basis of habitat saturation. However, the number of unrelated neighbours did not affect dispersal decisions of females living in the sparsely occupied plains habitat. After pride fission, daughters settled closer to their mothers in areas where there were greater numbers of unrelated female neighbours, but territories were just as exclusive as between unrelated neighbouring prides. Maternal prides in high-quality areas shared a greater percentage of their territory with descendant prides, but this tolerance diminished as relatedness declined through time.",
keywords = "African lion, Panthera leo, dispersal, group fission, optimal group size, postdispersal relationship",
author = "Kimberly VanderWaal and Anna Mosser and Craig Packer",
year = "2009",
month = "4",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.12.028",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "77",
pages = "949--954",
journal = "Animal Behaviour",
issn = "0003-3472",
publisher = "Academic Press Inc.",
number = "4",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Optimal group size, dispersal decisions and postdispersal relationships in female African lions

AU - VanderWaal, Kimberly

AU - Mosser, Anna

AU - Packer, Craig

PY - 2009/4/1

Y1 - 2009/4/1

N2 - We used 40 years of long-term data to test whether dispersal decisions of female African lions, Panthera leo, are sensitive to variations in pride size, interpride competition and the quality of their natal territory. Per capita reproductive success reached a maximum at 3-6 females on the open grass plains of the Serengeti and at 3-11 females in the woodlands. Approximately 50% of female cohorts dispersed when potential pride size exceeded the habitat-specific optimum, whereas only 9% of cohorts dispersed at smaller pride sizes. Cohorts of one to two females rarely dispersed, especially in high-density habitats. Thus, pride size typically remained within the range that maximized individual reproductive success. In the high-density woodland habitat, females were less likely to disperse from prides that were surrounded by large numbers of unrelated females, as would be predicted on the basis of habitat saturation. However, the number of unrelated neighbours did not affect dispersal decisions of females living in the sparsely occupied plains habitat. After pride fission, daughters settled closer to their mothers in areas where there were greater numbers of unrelated female neighbours, but territories were just as exclusive as between unrelated neighbouring prides. Maternal prides in high-quality areas shared a greater percentage of their territory with descendant prides, but this tolerance diminished as relatedness declined through time.

AB - We used 40 years of long-term data to test whether dispersal decisions of female African lions, Panthera leo, are sensitive to variations in pride size, interpride competition and the quality of their natal territory. Per capita reproductive success reached a maximum at 3-6 females on the open grass plains of the Serengeti and at 3-11 females in the woodlands. Approximately 50% of female cohorts dispersed when potential pride size exceeded the habitat-specific optimum, whereas only 9% of cohorts dispersed at smaller pride sizes. Cohorts of one to two females rarely dispersed, especially in high-density habitats. Thus, pride size typically remained within the range that maximized individual reproductive success. In the high-density woodland habitat, females were less likely to disperse from prides that were surrounded by large numbers of unrelated females, as would be predicted on the basis of habitat saturation. However, the number of unrelated neighbours did not affect dispersal decisions of females living in the sparsely occupied plains habitat. After pride fission, daughters settled closer to their mothers in areas where there were greater numbers of unrelated female neighbours, but territories were just as exclusive as between unrelated neighbouring prides. Maternal prides in high-quality areas shared a greater percentage of their territory with descendant prides, but this tolerance diminished as relatedness declined through time.

KW - African lion

KW - Panthera leo

KW - dispersal

KW - group fission

KW - optimal group size

KW - postdispersal relationship

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=62149136268&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=62149136268&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.12.028

DO - 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.12.028

M3 - Article

VL - 77

SP - 949

EP - 954

JO - Animal Behaviour

JF - Animal Behaviour

SN - 0003-3472

IS - 4

ER -