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High juvenile mortality is associated with sex-specific adult survival and lifespan in wild roe deer

Abstract : Male mammals typically have shorter lifespans than females [1]. Sex differences in survival may result, in part, from sex-specific optima in investment in reproduction, with higher male mortality rates from sexual competition selecting for a "live-fast die-young'' strategy in this sex [2]. In the wild, lifespan is also influenced by environmental conditions experienced early in life. Poor conditions elevate juvenile mortality, which may selectively remove individuals with a particular phenotype or genotype from a cohort [3], and can alter the subsequent phenotypic condition and fate of those that survive to adulthood [4]. Males and females can respond differently to the same early-life environmental experiences [5, 6], but whether such environmental pressures generate sex differences in lifespan has rarely been considered. We show that sex differences in adult survival and lifespan in cohorts of roe deer (Capreolus capreolus) range from virtually absent in some years to females living 30% longer than males in others. The extent of this sex difference in adult longevity is strongly linked to the level of mortality each cohort experiences as juveniles, with high juvenile mortality generating a strong sex difference in both adult survival and lifespan. In females, high juvenile mortality leads to increased adult survival for those remaining individuals, whereas in males survival is actually reduced. Early environmental conditions and the selective pressures they impose may help to explain variability in sex-specific aging across animal taxa.
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Contributor : Laure-Hélène Davoine Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, February 21, 2019 - 4:18:52 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 16, 2022 - 2:44:50 PM

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M. Garratt, Jf. Lemaitre, M. Douhard, C. Bonenfant, G. Capron, et al.. High juvenile mortality is associated with sex-specific adult survival and lifespan in wild roe deer. Current Biology - CB, Elsevier, 2015, 25 (6), pp.759-63. ⟨10.1016/j.cub.2014.11.071⟩. ⟨hal-02044777⟩

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