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ABSTRACT • Despite it being the most abundant mountain dwelling ungulate of Europe and the Near East, the taxonomy, systematics and biology of the chamois are still imperfectly known. Although neither species of chamois is at risk, several subspecies are threatened (Rupicapra rupicapra cartusiana, Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica and Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica; Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata. Rupicapra rupicapra asiatica is data-deficient but probably threatened). • A life history with apparently contradictory relationships between survival, sexual dimorphism and mating system suggests a unique survival strategy not yet fully understood. Over the last century, morphologic, biometric, behavioural and genetic features have been studied to shed light on the phylogeography and monophyly or polyphyly of the chamois as well as on the number of existing species and subspecies of the genus Rupicapra. • The dispersal hypothesis, according to which R. rupicapra migrated westward from eastern Europe in the Quaternary, confining R. pyrenaica to the southernmost regions of Europe, has been recently called into question by some molecular analyses that yielded contradictory results. • In spite of subtleties relevant to each method of analysis, an overall evaluation of differences between the R. rupicapra and the R. pyrenaica groups strongly supports the functional separation of the taxa into two species. • Further studies on the ecology of chamois, as well as on the epidemiology of severe diseases, e.g. sarcoptic mange, are needed to improve the management of viable populations. • Before translocations and reintroductions are carried out, the risk of hybridization leading to genetic extinction should be evaluated.

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... section ▶ "Phylogeny and Phylogeography" for further details). Currently, the most accepted classification of chamois considers two species, the Southern chamois R. pyrenaica and the Northern chamois R. rupicapra ( Fig. 1) (Wilson and Reeder 2005;Corlatti et al. 2011): Rupicapra pyrenaica (with the subspecies parva Cabrera, 1911, pyrenaica Bonaparte, 1845, and ornata Neumann 1899) from South-Western Europe, and R. rupicapra (with the subspecies cartusiana Couturier 1938, rupicapra Linnaeus, 1758, tatrica Blahout, 1971, carpatica Couturier 1938, balcanica Bolkay, 1925, asiatica Lydekker, 1908, and caucasica Lydekker, 1910 from Central-Eastern Europe. Based on this classification, Rupicapra rupicapra and Rupicapra pyrenaica are described in individual sections. ...
... Depending on the molecular marker system, phylogenetic studies present contrasting patterns of differentiation pointing towards a complex evolutionary picture for the genus Rupicapra. The monophyly or polyphyly of Rupicapra, or the number of its species and subspecies, is still under debate (reviewed in Corlatti et al. 2011;. To date, the most widely accepted taxonomical classification considers two species, R. pyrenaica (with three subspecies) from South-Western Europe and R. rupicapra (with seven subspecies) from Central-Eastern Europe (e.g., Masini and Lovari 1988;Wilson and Reeder 2005). ...
... Translocations of chamois for hunting purposes, from different geographic populations or subspecies, have increased the risk of losing differentiated gene pools by hybridization, e.g., for R. r. cartusiana, R. r. balcanica, and R. r. tatrica (Lovari 1984a). Effective conservation measures, as with other taxa, should be established while populations of Rupicapra rupicapra subspecies are still abundant, rather than when it is too late for them to survive (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
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[Published in: Handbook of the Mammals of Europe – Terrestrial Cetartiodactyla (Eds. Zachos, F. and L. Corlatti). Springer Nature.] The chamois is the most abundant mountain ungulate of Europe. Although the taxonomy of the genus has been subject to continuous revisions since the beginning of the twentieth century, currently two species are recognized: the Northern chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, and the Southern chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica. In this chapter we follow this classification, and present an up-to-date synthesis of the biology, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of the two species. After introducing the taxonomic status and the recent controversies surrounding the systematic of the genus, we provide an account of the current distribution of the chamois within its native range, from the Cantabrians to the Caucasus, from Poland to Turkey. For both species, we describe: the main morphological, physiological and genetic features; an overview of the main life history traits (growth, survival and reproduction); the relationships between chamois and its environment (space use, diet) and how internal and external variables impact on the dynamics of its populations, including competition with wild and domestic ungulates; its social behaviour throughout the year and male mating system; the most relevant diseases and their demographic impacts; the issues surrounding its management and conservation. This chapter will provide researchers and people interested in chamois with the opportunity to access the most relevant advances on the biology of these iconic species.
... Hoci ide o najpočetnejšieho kopytníka obývajúceho horské oblasti v Európe a na Blízkom východe, jeho životná história s rozporuplnými vzťahmi medzi prežívaním, sexuálnym dimorfizmom a systémom párenia sa naznačuje jedinečnú stratégiu prežitia, ktorá ešte nie je úplne pochopená. Preto je potrebné pred uskutočnením ich translokácií vyhodnotiť aj možné riziko hybridizácie (CORLATTI et al. 2011). Tento druh bol, resp. ...
... Niektorí autori (napr. CRESTANELLO et al. 2009;RODRÍGUEZ et al. 2009RODRÍGUEZ et al. , 2010CORLATTI et al. 2011;PÉREZ et al. 2011PÉREZ et al. , 2013 Kým v západnej časti areálu boli populácie kamzíkov študované relatívne podrobne, z východnej časti areálu je menej informácií (ZEMANOVÁ 2014). Areál kamzíka vrchovského je v súčasnosti značne ovplyvnený introdukciou druhu na viaceré miesta Európy i sveta (CAUGHLEY 1963;CORLATTI et al. 2011;MARTÍNKOVÁ et al. 2012). ...
... CRESTANELLO et al. 2009;RODRÍGUEZ et al. 2009RODRÍGUEZ et al. , 2010CORLATTI et al. 2011;PÉREZ et al. 2011PÉREZ et al. , 2013 Kým v západnej časti areálu boli populácie kamzíkov študované relatívne podrobne, z východnej časti areálu je menej informácií (ZEMANOVÁ 2014). Areál kamzíka vrchovského je v súčasnosti značne ovplyvnený introdukciou druhu na viaceré miesta Európy i sveta (CAUGHLEY 1963;CORLATTI et al. 2011;MARTÍNKOVÁ et al. 2012). Veľkosť areálu a distribúciu kamzíkov v posledných dvoch storočiach výrazne ovplyvnili najmä ich lov, deštrukcia biotopov, urbanizácia prostredia, epidémie a introdukcie, resp. ...
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Chamois (genus Rupicapra) are mountain ungulates distributed over the central and southern Europe mountainous areas, including the Balkan peninsulaand the Near East (Turkey and Caucasus). Living in prolonged isolation they have been descript (based on morphological physiological, behavioral and genetic differences) as two biological species with several subspecies: the Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra, Linnaeus 1768) with seven subspecies based on local geographical distribution (rupicapra, cartusiana, tatrica, carpatica, balcanica, asiatica,caucasica) and the Pyrenean chamois (R. pyrenaica, Bonaparte, 1845) with three discontinuous subspecies (pyrenaica, parva, ornata). The Tatra chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra tatrica, Blahout 1972) is a glacial relict and a rare endemic subspecies, belongs to the group of young animal species since the first paleontological findings date back no earlier than the Middle Pleistocene with the majority of findings placed into the Late Pleistocene. In 1972 have been recognized by Milič Blahout, as a separate subspecies mainly based on morphological features. An autochthonous population of Tatra chamois occurs in the alpine zone of the Tatra Mts. (including the Western, High and Belianske Mts.), in their Slovak and Polish parts. As the Tatra chamois subspecies may be considered an evolutionarily significant unit it requires conservation management.
... The chamois, genus Rupicapra, is the most abundant mountain-dwelling ungulate in Europe and the Near East, and is currently recognized to be divided into two species: Rupicapra rupicapra (Northern chamois) and Rupicapra pyrenaica (Southern chamois), further subdivided into seven (cartusiana, rupicapra, balcanica, tatrica, carpatica, caucasica, and asiatica) and three (parva, pyrenaica, and ornata) subspecies, respectively [1,2]. The conservation status of the species requires consideration. ...
... Neither of the species is threatened and both species are currently classified as least-concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species [3,4]. Although some subspecies are protected at the national level in (part of) their distribution, detailed information on the conservation status of the different subspecies is patchy, if any, and chamois may be one of the most threatened European ungulates if considered at the subspecies level [2]. This picture is further complicated by molecular controversy concerning the subspecies subdivision based on morphological and behavioral characters. ...
... This picture is further complicated by molecular controversy concerning the subspecies subdivision based on morphological and behavioral characters. While some markers provided some support for this classification mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) identified nominal species as paraphyletic [2,5] and references therein. ...
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Although the two species of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra and R. pyrenaica) are currently classified as least-concern by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature), inconsistencies on the subspecies classification reported in literature make it challenging to assess the conservation status of the single subspecies. Previous studies relying on mitochondrial genes, sometimes in combination with nuclear or Y-chromosome markers, reported the presence of clusters corresponding to the geographic distribution but highlighting ambiguities in the genus phylogeny. Here we report novel de novo assembled sequences of the mitochondrial genome from nine individuals, including previously unpublished R. r. balcanica and R. r. tatrica subspecies, and use them to untangle the genus phylogeny. Our results based on the full mitogenome inferred phylogeny confirm the previously reported genus subdivision in three clades and its monophyletic positioning within the Caprinae. Phylogeny and taxonomy of Rupicapra species thus remain controversial prompting for the inclusion of archeological remains to solve the controversy.
... Hunting lactating female ungulates deserves caution: the case of the chamois The Northern chamois R. rupicapra is one of the most abundant mountaindwelling ungulates in Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al. 2011) and an iconic symbol of mountain hunting. Despite its overall abundance, some populations of the Alpine subspecies R. r. rupicapra lately showed a decreasing trend and other subspecies are threatened (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
... Hunting lactating female ungulates deserves caution: the case of the chamois The Northern chamois R. rupicapra is one of the most abundant mountaindwelling ungulates in Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al. 2011) and an iconic symbol of mountain hunting. Despite its overall abundance, some populations of the Alpine subspecies R. r. rupicapra lately showed a decreasing trend and other subspecies are threatened (Corlatti et al. 2011). As hunting pressure is one of the major drivers of population dynamics in game species, understanding the potential demographic consequences of different harvesting regimes is pivotal to ensure sustainable wildlife management. ...
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Hunting lactating or non-lactating female ungulates is a debated issue because of offspring orphaning. Approaches based on individual-based modelling have been recently applied to investigate potential consequences of random hunting on lactating and non-lactating female chamois, and suggested that this management regime would have no effect on chamois population dynamics. We argue that this conclusion deserves great caution, and point out several uncertainties that should be accounted for in future agent-based models, thus in the decision-making process. Among the others: (i) the potential long-term effects on phenotypic quality and reproductive success of orphans, (ii) the local variation of chamois hunting season, which is likely to influence survival of orphans, (iii) the great variability of chamois hunting regimes throughout the species’ distribution range, (iv) the local variations in the assumed senescence in chamois and (v) the potential demographic consequences of trophy hunting when no restrictions on lactating females is imposed. Agent-based models may be useful tools for the adaptive management of wildlife populations: by investigating the potential outcomes of different harvesting regimes, first steps have been taken towards the application of this approach to chamois management. However, modelling of harvesting regimes requires extensive parametrization of the diversity of hunting regimes and their interconnections with life history traits to obtain more generalizable recommendations.
... The European bison Bison bonasus, with about 6600 individuals, is listed as vulnerable on the IUCN Red List (Raczyński 2017). Wild native Caprinae (ibex Capra spp., chamois Rupicapra spp.) are patchily distributed in the mountain ranges of southern-central Europe from Spain to Greece; no species is threatened, yet there is concern about the conservation of certain chamois subspecies (Corlatti et al. 2011), and the future decline of Alpine ibex Capra ibex populations should be prevented. The wax and wane of population size due to overexploitation, shifts in distribution related to land-use changes and translocations for consumptive or conservation reasons, may eventually favour the onset of hybrid zones among native (sub)species. ...
... Future research on the effects of hybridisation on fitnessrelated traits is thus of paramount importance for planning appropriate conservation measures. To date, management recommendations to avoid the spread of hybrids generally include the removal of non-endemic populations, the definition of conservation units for different chamois taxa -that should cautiously consider translocations of individuals carrying the appropriate genetic background (Corlatti et al. 2011) -and careful monitoring of potential ongoing hybridisation events. ...
Article
Hybridisation and gene introgression are important sources of diversification, the relevance of which in the evolutionary processes is well recognised. Their fitness consequences in animal populations, however, are not sufficiently well understood, despite hybridisation rates becoming increasingly important worldwide following human‐related activities such as domestication, game management and habitat alteration. In Europe, the density and distribution of native ungulates have largely been influenced by humans since pre‐historic times. This, alongside the introduction of non‐native and domesticated species, may bear major consequences at the genetic and population levels. We provide an updated overview of recent hybridisation events in wild European ungulates; we describe their ecological drivers, extent, current distribution, potential consequences and proposed management strategies. We reviewed the scientific literature published between 2000 and 2018 and found that confirmed hybridisation was described in 75 of the 89 references we included, involving nearly all the species that we investigated. Most researchers relied on genetic information for hybrid identification, which often involved a domestic counterpart. However, introductions and translocations also led to crossbreeding between wild ungulate (sub)species. Only 43 papers provided management recommendations, mostly focused on preventing hybridisation and removing hybrids. Hybridisation proved to be relatively common in several ungulate taxa in Europe. Despite reported changes in phenotype and fitness‐related traits in some species, the consequences of hybridisation for adaptation, life history, and evolutionary potential remain largely unknown. The current conservation paradigm aims to prevent the spread of domestic or non‐native genes in native populations; accordingly, conservation plans should: 1) determine the genetic origin of possible source populations; 2) protect native populations from the risk of crossbreeding with non‐native ones, and 3) establish permanent monitoring.
... The chamois (Rupicapra spp.) is a mammal distributed in the main Eurasian mountain ranges, from the Caucasus to the Iberian Peninsula, and currently classified into two species: Rupicapra rupicapra and Rupicapra pyrenaica (Corlatti et al., 2011). The former is distributed in central and eastern Europe, Anatolia and Caucasus, and includes seven subspecies (cartusiana, rupicapra, tatrica, carpatica, balcanica, asiatica, caucasica). ...
... The human consumption of this species has been demonstrated since the Pleistocene, when hunter-gatherers hunted different species of ungu-lates (Bertini Vacca, 2012). Also competition with sheep, widespread in central Italy since the 7 th millennium BP (Barker, 1981), and diffusion of epizootic diseases (Corlatti et al., 2011) may have contributed to chamois diminution. In central Italy, the drastic reduction in population size led to a genetic collapse of the Apennine chamois as demonstrated by the analysis of both mtDNA and microsatellites that highlighted for R. p. ornata the lowest values of genetic diversity observed so far among all bottlenecked mammal populations (Rodríguez et al., 2010). ...
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The Apennine chamois (Rupicapra cf pyrenaica) is a very endangered mountain mammal surviving in small and scattered populations in central Italy. Despite its recent reintroduction in different Apennine massifs and a census size of ca. 1000 individuals, genetic variability is the lowest among bottlenecked mammals. The analysis of ancient DNA sequences from a skull dated back to ca. 3000 yr BP, have allowed us to describe a new haplotype belonging to the Clade mtC (including Massif of Chartreuse and Appenine populations) but never found in current chamois. This result underline that the reduction of Apennine populations, probably due to progressive anthropic pressure rising from the Pleistocene, was combined with an ever-increasing genetic erosion in gradually smaller and isolated populations.
... In Northern chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, a mountain ungulate widely distributed in Europe and the Near East (Corlatti, Lorenzini, & Lovari, 2011), at least two ARTs occur, territorial and nonterritorial males (Corlatti et al., 2012;von Hardenberg, Bassano, Peracino, & Lovari, 2000). During the November rut, the higher mating success of territorial males is traded-off against an increase in fecal egg/larval counts, compared to nonterritorial males (Corlatti et al., 2012). ...
Article
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Alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs), discrete phenotypic variations evolved to maximize fitness, may entail different cost-benefit trade-offs. In large mammals, differences in costs associated with ARTs-including energy expenditure and parasite infection-are typically greatest during the breeding season. Nonetheless, physiological and behavioral differences between ARTs can manifest throughout the year, possibly involving costs that may contribute to maintain ARTs within populations. Using the number of nematode larvae per gram of feces (LPG) as a proxy, we explored the temporal changes in lung parasite infection in territorial and nonterritorial male chamois Rupicapra in the Gran Paradiso National Park (Italy), between 2011 and 2012. We aimed to identify which tactic-specific physiological and behavioral features (including age, hormonal levels, inter-and intrasexual interactions, and space use) or climatic factors (temperature and precipitation) best explained yearly variation in parasite infection within and between ARTs. Generalized additive mixed models showed that the fecal larval counts of lung nematodes underwent strong temporal changes in both male types. Differences between ARTs (with higher LPG values in territorial than nonterritorial males) were greatest during the rut and-to a lesser extent-in spring, respectively, at the peak and at the onset of territoriality. The difference in LPG between tactics was largely explained by the greater levels of hormone metabolites in territorial males during the rut. The other variables did not contribute significantly to explain the different shedding of larvae within and between ARTs. Our analysis suggests that different values of LPG between territorial and nonterritorial males are largely a result of tactic-specific differences in the secretion of hormone metabolites, but only during the rut. To clarify whether rut-related parasitism contributes to the maintenance of ARTs, tactic-specific life history trade-offs, for example, between reproduction and parasite-related mortality, must be investigated.
... Die älteren Böcke halten sich meist das ganze Jahr über in tieferen Lagen auf. Sie sind es, die bei einer gezielten Jagd auf "Waldgams" auch als Erste dezimiert werden (BÖGEL et al. 2001, CORLATTI et al. 2011, CORLATTI et al. 2013a , MEILE 2014. Je niedriger das Durchschnittsalter der Böcke, desto länger ist die "Kampfphase" vor der eigentlichen Paarungszeit. ...
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The situation and management approach of Alpine chamois (Rupicapra r.r.) is evaluated especially in relation to conservations regulations by the EU. We give an overview of the monitoring of the population status in the alpine countries (with the exception of Liechtenstein and Romania) and the efforts taken respectively to ensure sustainable hunting of the species in view of its listing in Annex V of the ffh-directive.
... Several of Europe's large carnivores are increasing in numbers over wide ranges [e.g., (18,37,38)]. Similarly, large herbivores are increasing in numbers, partly because of protection and regulated hunting, but also through active restoration initiatives and reintroductions [e.g., (39)(40)(41)]. Species such as European bison (Bison bonasus), moose, red deer, wild boar, European brown bear, gray wolf, Eurasian lynx, and Eurasian beaver are all showing positive population trajectories, and have done so for the past 50 years. ...
Article
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The recovery of many populations of large carnivores and herbivores in major parts of Europe and North America offers ecosystem services and opportunities for sustainable utilization of wildlife. Examples of services are hunting, meat, and skin, along with less invasive utilization such as ecotourism and wildlife spotting. An increasing number of studies also point out the ecosystem function, landscape engineering, and cascading effects of wildlife as values for human existence, biodiversity conservation, and ecosystem resilience. Within this framework, the concept of rewilding has emerged as a means to add to the wilderness through either supplementary release of wildlife species already present or reintroduction of species formerly present in a certain area. The latter involves translocation of species from other geographical areas, releases from captivity, feralization, retro-breeding, or de-domestication of breeds for which the wild ancestor is extinct. While all these initiatives aim to reverse some of the negative human impacts on life on earth, some pose challenges such as conflicts of interest between humans and wildlife in, for example, forestry, agriculture, traffic, or disease dynamics (e.g., zoonosis). There are also welfare aspects when managing wildlife populations with the purpose to serve humans or act as tools in landscape engineering. These welfare aspects are particularly apparent when it comes to releases of animals handled by humans, either from captivity or translocated from other geographical areas. An ethical values clash is that translocation can involve suffering of the actual individual, while also contributing to reintroduction of species and reestablishment of ecological functions. This paper describes wildlife recovery in Europe and North America and elaborates on ethical considerations raised by the use of wildlife for different purposes, in order to find ways forward that are acceptable to both the animals and humans involved. The reintroduction ethics aspects raised are finally formulated in 10 guidelines suggested for management efforts aimed at translocating wildlife or reestablishing wilderness areas.
... -Crestanello et al. 2009;Zemanová et al. 2015;Šprem and Buzan 2016). In the case of the chamois, translocations of individuals for hunting purposes greatly increases the risk of losing differentiated gene pools and can lead to genetic extinction of some taxa (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
Article
During the early 1900s, Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) populations in the northern Dinaric Mountains were extirpated. During the 1960s and 1970s there were several reintroductions of individuals from two Northern chamois subspecies (Alpine chamois, R. r. rupicapra and Balkan chamois, R. r. balcanica) from neighbouring areas in the attempt to re-establish the population. Accurate taxonomic classification, at subspecies level, of the autochthonous extirpated population was not known. To clarify which subspecies was present before reintroduction, we genotyped four male chamois skulls originating from Velebit Mountain, collected around 25 years before the population local extinction. DNA was successfully extracted from middle layer and outer sheath of horns. Assignment based on microsatellite loci, using both Bayesian clustering in STRUCTURE (with q values between 0.55 and 0.73) and DAPC (with individual membership probabilities of 0.99 and 1.00) indicated higher assessed likelihood for the Alpine subspecies.
... A recent count in both, the Slovak and Polish parts of the Tatras, revealed a total of approximately 1367 individuals. As a result, the Tatra chamois is listed according to IUCN status as critically endangered (Temple and Terry 2007;Corlatti et al. 2011;Zemanová et al. 2015). To date, nine mtDNA haplotypes have been discovered in the population linked to the Tatras, with one haplotype described as typical to the populations of the Low Tatras (Crestanello et al. 2009;Rodríguez et al. 2010;Cavallero et al. 2013;Zemanová et al. 2015). ...
Article
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The Tatra chamois is an endemic subspecies of Northern chamois, indigenous only in the Tatras, a wild animal genetic resource unique to Slovakia. The main goal of this study was to describe the distribution of mtDNA haplogroups in isolated populations inhabiting geographical areas in the Slovak part of the Tatras and the development of methodologies for reliable differentiation between the closely related Alpine and Tatra subspecies based on mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) sequence variation. A partial sequence of the D-loop region was obtained to enable analysis of the mtDNA and subsequent estimation of the population haplotype structures. Despite the relatively short fragment of the D-loop region (final length 480 bp) analysed, reliable differentiation of the selected subspecies as genetically unique was obtained. Moreover, the study results indicated the occurrence of four haplotypes within the sampled population. Except for three previously published haplotypes, the analysis of the target mtDNA region suggested the occurrence of a new group, here noted as Tatra 10, indicating the existence of a new, unique haplotype. From the geographical point of view, this new haplotype, seems to be restricted to the area of the Western Tatras. Thus, our study provides new insight into the haplotype structure of the native Tatra chamois population in Slovakia and can be beneficial for the management of its conservation status. It should be emphasised that the Tatra chamois is regarded as a critically endangered species. Therefore, the systematic monitoring of genetic diversity, including the distribution of mtDNA haplotypes, is necessary to develop an appropriate conservation strategy.
... Chamois dynamics appears to be negatively affected by the increase in red deer, and no alternative hypotheses are consistent with the observed pattern. Although no chamois species is at risk, several subspecies are threatened (Corlatti, Lorenzini & Lovari, 2011) and understanding the processes underlying their temporal dynamics is pivotal for informed management of populations. Competition with other speciesalongside other limiting factorsmay be a reason of concern that should be carefully evaluated, especially when human interventions such as reintroductions of superior competitors are considered in areas where chamois are present (Lovari et al., 2014). ...
... At present, the genus Rupicapra inhabits most mountain regions in Eurasia, from the Cantabrian Mountains in the southwest of Anatolia and the Caucasus. The populations occupying the different mountain ranges were given the subspecies category and the most accepted taxonomy [12] groups placing these ten subspecies into two species (see Figure 1), although we have argued that this classification is not supported by genetic data [13,14]. The three old mitochondrial clades were referred to as west, central, and east (mtW, mtC, and mtE) according to its distribution [8]. ...
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The current distribution of populations in Europe is marked by the effects of glaciations that occurred during the Pleistocene. Temperate species were isolated in glacial refugia that were the sources of postglacial recolonization. The traditional glacial refuge areas were the Iberian, the Italian and the Balkan peninsulas. Here we revisit the evolutionary history of chamois (Rupicapra genus) to evaluate other sites in continental Europe and Anatolia that have been suggested as potential refuges. We have obtained the complete mitochondrial sequence of seven chamois, including the subspecies parva, carpatica, caucasica, and asiatica whose mitochondrial genome had not been yet reported. These, together with the other fourteen sequences already in the GenBank, represent the different geographical populations of the Rupicapra genus. The phylogenetic analysis showed the three old clades, dating from the early Pleistocene, already reported: mtW in the Iberian Peninsula, mtC in the Appenines and the Massif of Chartreuse, and mtE comprising all the population from the Alps to the east. The genomes within each of the clades mtW and mtE, showed divergence times larger than 300 thousand years. From here, it can be argued that the present-day lineages across Europe are very old and their split dates back to the middle Pleistocene.
... Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is the southernmost subspecies within the distribution of the genus in Europe. Its geographical distribution extends across nine countries in the Balkan Peninsula, forming usually small and often isolated populations with different conservation and management statuses (Corlatti et al. 2011). The population of chamois in Greece is on the edge within the subspecies range. ...
Article
Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is the southernmost subspecies within the distribution of the genus in Europe. In Greece, which is its marginal area of distribution, the population presents a fragmented pattern. This is the first study that investigates genetic variability and structure of Greek chamois. We collected samples from the wider Pindus mountain range, Mount Olympus, the Rhodope mountains and from the North-Northwestern mountains. Individuals were screened for mitochondrial (mt) sequences, cytochrome b (cytb) and control region (CR), and 18 microsatellite loci. Only one haplotype of cytb was observed. Sequences of the CR showed extensive variability grouping into three differentiated clades, one of them including specimens of the subspecies asiatica and caucasica. The GenBank haplotypes of balcanica from the Dinarides form a different clade. There is differentiation among geographical areas both for the CR as well as for microsatellites. In particular, the Olympus population is clearly distinct from the rest and shows low diversity. This differentiation can be related to recent isolation and small population size more than to a singular long evolutionary history, given that the haplotypes present there are shared by the Pindus populations. The chamois in Greece harbor an outstanding amount of variability within the species R. rupicapra and hence merit the implementation of special conservation measures. We propose actions to prevent further fragmentation in the wider area of Pindus and the North-Northwestern mountains. For the isolated populations of Olympus and the Rhodopes, conservation must focus on actions to maintain a viable population size.
... In conclusion, although taxonomy is often considered particularly relevant to chamois population management, and large-scale decision making would undoubtedly benefit from a well-defined taxonomic classification, we caution against relying on interpretations drawn from individual tools, either behavioral, morphological, paleontological or genetic/genomic, as results are intrinsically probabilistic, and partial at best. Furthermore, regardless of the taxonomic status assigned, we suggest the value of single chamois populations should be also assessed at the historical and conservation levels (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
Article
2 The chamois Rupicapra spp. is the most abundant mountain ungulate of Europe and the Near East, where it occurs as two species , the northern chamois R. rupicapra and the southern chamois R. pyrenaica. Here, we provide a state-of-the-art overview of research trends and the most challenging issues in chamois research and conservation, focusing on taxonomy and systematics, genetics, life history, ecology and behavior, physiology and disease, management and conservation. Research on Rupicapra has a longstanding history and has contributed substantially to the biological and ecological knowledge of mountain ungulates. Although the number of publications on this genus has markedly increased over the past two decades, major differences persist with respect to knowledge of species and subspecies, with research mostly focusing on the Alpine chamois R. r. rupicapra and, to a lesser extent, the Pyrenean chamois R. p. pyrenaica. In addition, a scarcity of replicate studies of populations of different subspecies and/or geographic areas limits the advancement of chamois science. Since environmental heterogeneity impacts behavioral, physiological and life history traits, understanding the underlying processes would be of great value from both an evolutionary and conservation/management standpoint, especially in the light of ongoing climatic change. Substantial contributions to this challenge may derive from a quantitative assessment of reproductive success, investigation of fine-scale foraging patterns, and a mechanistic understanding of disease outbreak and resilience. For improving conservation status, resolving taxonomic disputes, identifying subspecies hybridization, assessing the impact of hunting and establishing reliable methods of abundance estimation are of primary concern. Despite being one of the most well-known mountain ungulates, substantial field efforts to collect paleontological, behavioral, ecological, morphological, physiological and genetic data on different populations and subspecies are still needed to ensure a successful future for chamois research and conservation.
... Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is a mountain-dwelling ungulate with habitat distribution over Central and Southern Europe and adjacent Western Asia (Corlatti et al. 2011). It inhabits predominantly rocky habitats with steep slopes (Ramanzin et al. 2002) at altitudes from around 1000 to 2500 m, though it occasionally descends to areas at lower altitudes characterized by rocky ground, ecological heterogeneity, and steep slopes (Tosi and Perco 1981). ...
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Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is a mountain-dwelling ungulate inhabiting predominantly rocky habitat with steep slopes. Since it mostly inhabits boreal habitats at high altitudes, low valleys tend to separate populations, thereby limiting gene flow. In the present study, we genotyped 54 georeferenced chamois using 20 SSR loci to test the influence of the Kupa River on the spatial genetic structure of the population in the bordering area between Croatia and Slovenia in the northern Dinaric Mountains. Both GENELAND and STRUCTURE assigned all individuals to one spatial cluster, indicating that the Kupa River does not represent a barrier to gene flow for chamois. Unfortunately, in 2015, a razor wire fence was constructed along the Croatian-Slovenian border at the Kupa River. This fence represents a major threat to the chamois population as it may cause mortality, obstruct seasonal dispersal and reduce the effective population size. If the fence remains as it is, changes in the genetic structure and genetic diversity of the population due to the effect of drift and reduced effective population size can be predicted over the next generations.
... The Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) is a medium-sized mountain ungulate widely distributed in alpine and subalpine habitats of the Pyrenees [17]. Chamois are considered capital breeders (they store energy as body reserves to meet the high energetic costs of reproduction [18]) and intermediate feeders, capable of adapting their digestive system to woody plants or grasses depending on availability [19]. ...
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In alpine habitats, the seasonally marked climatic conditions generate seasonal and spatial differences in forage availability for herbivores. Vegetation availability and quality during the growing season are known to drive life history traits of mountain ungulates. However, little effort has been made to understand the association between plant phenology and changes in the foraging strategies of these mountain dwellers. Furthermore, this link can be affected by the seasonal presence of livestock in the same meadows. The objective of this work was to study the seasonal changes in diet composition of Pyrenean chamois (Rupicapra p. pyre-naica) and its relationship to primary production trends in a Mediterranean alpine environment. Moreover, diet composition in two populations with contrasting livestock pressure was compared in order to study the effect of sheep flocks on the feeding behaviour of chamois. From 2009 to 2012, monthly diet composition was estimated by cuticle microhistological analysis of chamois faeces collected in the eastern Pyrenees. The primary production cycle was assessed by remote sensing, using the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index. Additionally, the diet of sheep sharing seasonally the subalpine and alpine meadows with chamois was analysed. Diet selection of chamois and sheep and their overlap was also assessed. Our results show an intra-annual variation in the diet composition of Pyrenean chamois and demonstrate a strong relationship between plant consumption dynamics and phenology in alpine areas. In addition, Calluna vulgaris, Cytisus spp. and Festuca spp., as well as forbs in the summer, are found to be key forage species for Pyrenean chamois. Furthermore , this study couldn't detect differences between both chamois populations despite the presence of sheep flocks in only one area. However, the detection of a shift in the diet of chamois in both areas after the arrival of high densities of multi-specific livestock suggest a general livestock effect. In conclusion, Pyrenean chamois are well adapted to the variations PLOS ONE | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.
... Au sein du genre Rupicapra, il existe depuis des millions d'années (le pléistocène) deux espèces distinctes, aujourd'hui confirmées d'après la structure génétique (Nascetti et al. 1985) : R. pyreneica, qui regroupe l'isard des Pyrénées (Figure 10), des Cantabriques et des Abruzzes, isolées de l'autre espèce R. rupicapra le chamois des Alpes (Figure 11), qui est associée aux Alpes et aux chaînes de montagne des parties orientales de l'Europe. Ces espèces comprennent une dizaine de sous-espèces associées à différentes zones géographiques (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
Thesis
Dans l’hémisphère Nord, les populations de grands herbivores ont connu ces dernières décennies des modifications environnementales majeures, liées d’une part à l’augmentation importante de leur densité, et d’autre part aux changements globaux qui affectent leur habitat (notamment réchauffement climatique, modification des activités humaines, et fragmentation de l’habitat). Mieux comprendre comment ces espèces vont adapter leurs stratégies d’histoire de vie pour répondre à ces modifications est une question majeure de l’écologie des populations, et une étape nécessaire pour pouvoir adapter leur gestion aux enjeux environnementaux et sociétaux actuels. C’est dans ce contexte que nous avons étudié quelles étaient les sources de variation des tactiques de survie et de reproduction chez trois espèces de grands herbivores de montagne (l’isard Rupicapra pyreneica, le chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, et le mouflon méditerranéen Ovis gmelini musimon × Ovis sp.). A partir de suivis longitudinaux par capture-marquage-recapture (CMR) nous nous sommes plus particulièrement focalisés sur le rôle de l’hétérogénéité individuelle latente, de la variabilité climatique et de la structuration spatiale sur les paramètres démographiques.Ce travail s’est appuyé sur l’utilisation de modèles de mélange et d’une combinaison innovante du robust-design et des modèles multi-événements pour analyser des données démographiques collectées à différentes échelles spatio-temporelles. L’hétérogénéité individuelle s’est avérée être une composante majeure de la démographie des 3 espèces étudiées, avec l’identification chez le mouflon et l’isard de femelles aux performances reproductives contrastées, et l’existence chez le chamois de différences de survie entre individus liées à la qualité de l‘habitat occupé. Ces modèles ont aussi permis de révéler une augmentation de l’investissement reproducteur en fin de vie chez les femelles de mouflon au détriment de leur survie et d’étudier chez les femelles d’isard les différentes phases de l’effort reproducteur, de la gestation au sevrage, pour mettre en évidence que seule la lactation a un coût sur la reproduction suivante. Nos résultats ont également mis en exergue le rôle prépondérant du climat hivernal et printanier sur les paramètres démographiques des 3 espèces, tout en confirmant que ces effets sont souvent spécifiques à la population et au site étudiés. Cette étude montre également que l’isard et le mouflon, bien que relativement comparables en termes de taille, de traits écologiques, et de position phylogénétique, adoptent des stratégies d’histoire de vie contrastées.Au final, nos résultats soulignent donc l’importance des études démographiques comparatives à plusieurs niveaux d’organisation (inter-espèces, inter-population, intra-population), pour mieux comprendre le devenir des espèces de grands herbivores face aux perturbations environnementales.
... The Dinaric region is the natural habitat of both the northern subspecies of chamois: Alpine and Balkan chamois Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica (Masini and Lovari 1988). Alpine chamois inhabits the northern Dinaric Mountains, whereas the central and southern areas are inhabited by Balkan chamois (Corlatti et al. 2011). Prompted by a publication on the successful translocation of both Alpine and Balkan chamois specimens to the Mts Velebit, coastal Croatia (Frković 2008), Šprem and Buzan (2016) found the existence of Alpine and Balkan chamois haplotypes, thereby classifying the Mts Velebit as a hybridization zone between the subspecies. ...
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The Dinaric region is the natural habitat of the Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra) and Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica). Recently confirmed, these two subspecies hybridize in the contact zone on Mts. Velebit, coastal Croatia. Patterns of horn development in chamois can differ within populations and subspecies, and are mostly influenced by genetic structure, sex and resource availability. These factors control the direct ability of energy allocation to secondary sexual traits with diverse outcomes. This is the first study to investigate the horn growth patterns of Alpine and Balkan chamois populations and their admixed progeny. We explored the differences in horn growth and compensatory patterns among populations as a function of genetic background, separately for females and males. A significantly different pattern of horn development was detected in the hybrid population showing higher rates of initial horn growth – until 2.5 years, and much lower compensation rates in the first 4.5 years of life in both sexes in comparison to other chamois populations. Interestingly, differences in growth patterns were more expressed among males. Higher initial horn growth and low compensation rates in the hybrid population can be explained by both non-genetic and genetic factors, but may suggest an effect of heterosis, i.e. the occurrence of hybrid vigour. Therefore, this situation could reveal the extent to which life history patterns and evolutionary consequences can shape important traits of population outlook/vigour, such as horn size, in different chamois populations.
... A subspecies status of the Apennine population is reported in recent literature (e.g. Rodriguez et al. 2010) and also by Italian researches (Corlatti et al. 2011). Only Groves and Leslie (2011) consider all the subspecies at the species rank then reporting Rupicapra ornata as a monotypic, endemic species to the Abruzzi Apennines. ...
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Although there are various check lists of Italian mammals, there is not yet a synthesis of those mammals that are endemic to Italy. Therefore, we provide for the first time a detailed review on Italian mammal endemic species including endemic taxa deserving additional studies. This review is based on the most recent taxonomic revisions obtained using Scopus and Google Scholar databases. We also considered the age of endemic species. Some aspects of mammalian conservation are also provided and discussed.
... The Balkan Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is a mountain ungulate species of the subfamily caprinae that spreads throughout the Balkan Peninsula, from Croatia and Serbia to central Greece, which is the southern limit of its distribution. Overall, its populations are declining (Corlatti et al. 2011), whereas in Greece the population is estimated at 480-750 individuals, showing a fragmented distribution pattern (Papaioannou and Kati 2007).The species is under strict protection in the country thus its hunting has been prohibited since 1969. However, poaching has been identified as a major threat for the species' survival while various incidents regarding the confirmation of illegally hunted animals in the field, are increasing at an alarming rate (Papaioannou et al. 2015). ...
Article
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Poaching has been reported as a major threat to the survival of many species including the Chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). We report two recent cases from Greece where COI and Cytb sequences were used for species identification from evidence samples. Not only we confirm the poaching events, but through the description of the laboratory procedures we highlight two limitations of the barcoding method, COI-like sequences and the universality of COI primers.
... Ibex continued to be the main target species (65%), although a considerable increase of chamois (Rupicapra sp.) from 23,540e22,910 to 19,848e18,943 cal BP (Bertini Vacca, 2012) points to some changes in local/regional environmental conditions. Chamois is a cold-adapted mountain-dwelling species (Corlatti et al., 2011) and along with ibex possibly indicate decreasing temperatures and expansion of open environments during this time interval. This ecological scenario is in broad agreement with the expansion of Mesic woody Taxa for the key regional record from Lago Monticchio (Fig. 9a), taken from Brauer et al. (2007). ...
Article
Grotta del Romito has been the subject of numerous archaeological, chronological and palaeoenvironmental investigations for more than a decade. During the Upper Palaeolithic period the site contains evidence of human occupation through the Gravettian and Epigravettian periods, multiple human burials, changes in the pattern of human occupation, and faunal, isotopic and sedimentological evidence for local environmental change. In spite of this rich record, the chronological control is insufficient to resolve shifts in subsistence and mobility patterns at sufficiently high resolution to match the abrupt climate fluctuations at this time. To resolve this we present new radiocarbon and tephrostratigraphic dates in combination with existing radiocarbon dates, and develop a Bayesian age model framework for the site. This improved chronology reveals that local environmental conditions reflect abrupt and long-term changes in climate, and that these also directly influence changing patterns of human occupation of the site. In particular, we show that the environmental record for the site, based on small mammal habitat preferences, is chronologically in phase with the main changes in climate and environment seen in key regional archives from Italy and Greenland. We also calculate the timing of the transitions between different cultural phases and their spans. We also show that the intensification in occupation of the site is chronologically coincident with a rapid rise in Mesic Woody taxa seen in key regional pollen records and is associated with the Late Epigravettian occupation of the site. This change in the record of Grotta del Romito is also closely associated stratigraphically with a new tephra (the ROM-D30 tephra), which may act as a critical marker in environmental records of the region.
... The occurrence of black and white face markings is one of the most distinctive features of the Northern chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, a medium-size mountain ungulate native to central Europe and the near East (Corlatti et al. 2011). Chamois facial mask consists of white patches on both sides of the muzzle that extend to the neck and are separated by dark stripes running from the nose, through the eyes, to the base of the horns (Fig. 1). ...
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Black and white face markings in Artiodactyls are thought to be broadly associated with intraspecific communication. Evidence-based studies on the fine-scale mechanisms of signaling, however, are scant. The occurrence of black and white face markings is one of the most distinctive features of the Northern chamois Rupicapra rupicapra. Although their function is unknown, they might possibly signal fighting abilities: if so, the intensity of face color contrast should positively correlate with traits involved in aggressive contests, i.e. body mass and horn size. We collected data on face marking 'blackness' as a proxy of color contrast, dressed body mass and horn length on 103 chamois of either sex harvested during the hunting season of 2019 in the central Italian Alps. To investigate the relationship between color contrast and sex-specific body mass and horn length, we fitted an ordinal multilevel regression model in a Bayesian framework. Contrast score positively associated with increasing body mass in both sexes, but this relationship was much stronger in females than in males. Contrast score positively related with horn length in males but not in females. Our results offer some first insights into the potential correlates of chamois facial mask, suggesting that face markings might provide age-specific cues of mass-based dominance in females, while their role in males appears more uncertain. Behavioral studies on marked or hunted individuals in different environmental settings are necessary to confirm these findings, and provide further understandings of face color patterns in chamois.
... Chamois is a mount caprine found in most of the mountain ranges of southern Eurasia from the Cantabrian Mountains to the Caucasus. The most accepted classification considers two species, R. pyrenaica and R. rupicapra, (Grubb, 1993;Corlatti et al., 2011): Rupicapra pyrenaica (with the subspecies parva, pyrenaica and ornata) from southwestern Europe, and R. rupicapra (with the subspecies cartusiana, rupicapra, tatrica, carpatica, balcanica, asiatica and caucasica) from northeastern Europe. The mitochondrial phylogeny showed three main lineages (Crestanello et al., 2009;Rodríguez et al., 2009;Rodríguez et al., 2010) that were referred to as W, C and E after its restricted geographic distribution in either west, central or east Eurasia (see Rodríguez et al., 2009). ...
Article
Mitochondrial pseudogenes (numts) inserted in the nuclear genome are frequently found in population studies. Its presence is commonly connected with problems and errors when they are confounded with true mitochondrial sequences. In the opposite side, numts can provide valuable phylogenetic information when they are copies of ancient mitochondrial lineages. We show that Rupicapra individuals of different geographic origin from the Cantabrian Mountains to the Apennines and the Caucasus share a nuclear COI fragment. The numt copies are monophyletic, and their pattern of differentiation shows two outstanding features: a long evolution as differentiated true mitochondrial lineage, and a recent integration and spread through the chamois populations. The COI pseudogene is much older than the present day mitochondrial clades of Rupicapra and occupies a basal position within the Rupicapra-Ammotragus-Arabitragus node. Joint analysis of this numt and a cytb pseudogene with a similar pattern of evolution places the source mitochondrial lineage as a sister branch that separated from the Ammotragus-Arabitragus lineage 6 million years ago (Mya). The occurrence of this sequence in the nucleus of chamois suggests hybridization between highly divergent lineages. The integration event seems to be very recent, more recent than the split of the present day mtDNA lineages of Rupicapra (1.9 Mya). This observation invites to think of the spread across the genus by horizontal transfer through recent male-biased dispersal.
... Hybridization is recognized today as an evolutionary process in the formation of new species (Corlatti et al., 2011;Shurtliff, 2013;Cahill et al., 2018), including the genus Capra (Ropiquet and Hassanin, 2006). The fossil record of Capra from the Lower and Middle Pleistocene in the Iberian peninsula is limited and a search for new specimens is needed to better understand the evolution and differentiation of C. pyrenaica in the Iberian peninsula. ...
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The names of southwestern European goats: is Iberian ibex the best common name for Capra pyrenaica? The common name designated to a species is important because it connects specialists with non–experts. The matter of the correct common name is relevant to the conservation and management of conspicuous or flag species. The English name 'Spanish ibex' to designate Capra pyrenaica is extensive in the scientific literature, and some have defended its appropriateness. However, in our opinion, it is not the best term to designate this species. We propose that 'Iberian wild goat' should be used. Herein, we review the etymology, history, taxonomy and public use of the names used to designate goats (domestic and wild) in southwestern Europe during the last two millennia. Used first by Pliny the Elder, the name 'ibex' has been applied most often for the Alpine wild goat (C. ibex), and few authors applied this name to C. pyrenaica until the 20th century when some influential works extended its use in the scientific literature. Adult males of C. pyrenaica have lyre–shaped, and typically smooth horns that do not match the ibex morphotype, which has scimitar–shaped knotted horns. Although C. pyrenaica and C. ibex are probably phylogenetically close, their common names do not necessarily have to match. The rules of common names differ from those of scientific names. Cabra montés or cabra brava (wild goat) is the common name used by most authors in the Iberian peninsula. This name is deeply entrenched in the Iberian languages and has been used since the earliest references to the species in mediaeval times. We propose the adoption of 'Iberian wild goat' for legal and scientific communication and when interacting with the media.
... The aim of our study was to explore the pros and cons of fecal NIRS to predict the diet composition of mountain ungulates, using the fecal CMA as the reference method, since, as mentioned above, it is the most common technique for diet composition assessment. We focused on the Pyrenean chamois, a medium-sized mountain-dwelling ungulate widely distributed in subalpine and alpine habitats of the Pyrenees [34]. ...
... In conclusion, although taxonomy is often considered particularly relevant to chamois population management, and large-scale decision making would undoubtedly benefit from a well-defined taxonomic classification, we caution against relying on interpretations drawn from individual tools, either behavioral, morphological, paleontological or genetic/genomic, as results are intrinsically probabilistic, and partial at best. Furthermore, regardless of the taxonomic status assigned, we suggest the value of single chamois populations should be also assessed at the historical and conservation levels (Corlatti et al. 2011). ...
Article
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The chamois Rupicapra spp. is the most abundant mountain ungulate of Europe and the Near East, where it occurs as two species , the northern chamois R. rupicapra and the southern chamois R. pyrenaica. Here, we provide a state-of-the-art overview of research trends and the most challenging issues in chamois research and conservation, focusing on taxonomy and systematics, genetics, life history, ecology and behavior, physiology and disease, management and conservation. Research on Rupicapra has a longstanding history and has contributed substantially to the biological and ecological knowledge of mountain ungulates. Although the number of publications on this genus has markedly increased over the past two decades, major differences persist with respect to knowledge of species and subspecies, with research mostly focusing on the Alpine chamois R. r. rupicapra and, to a lesser extent, the Pyrenean chamois R. p. pyrenaica. In addition, a scarcity of replicate studies of populations of different subspecies and/or geographic areas limits the advancement of chamois science. Since environmental heterogeneity impacts behavioral, physiological and life history traits, understanding the underlying processes would be of great value from both an evolutionary and conservation/management standpoint, especially in the light of ongoing climatic change. Substantial contributions to this challenge may derive from a quantitative assessment of reproductive success, investigation of fine-scale foraging patterns, and a mechanistic understanding of disease outbreak and resilience. For improving conservation status, resolving taxonomic disputes, identifying subspecies hybridization, assessing the impact of hunting and establishing reliable methods of abundance estimation are of primary concern. Despite being one of the most well-known mountain ungulates, substantial field efforts to collect paleontological, behavioral, ecological, morphological, physiological and genetic data on different populations and subspecies are still needed to ensure a successful future for chamois research and conservation.
... The Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is an alpine ungulate native to Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al., 2011). It has previously been used to study the impacts of habitat connectivity on ...
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Understanding the drivers of species distribution ranges and population genetic structure can help predict species' responses to global change, while mitigating threats to biodiversity through effective conservation measures. Here, we combined species habitat suitability through time with process‐based models and genomic data to investigate the role of landscape features and functional connectivity in shaping the population genetic structure of Northern chamois. European Alps. Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). Using a model that simulates dispersal and tracks the functional connectivity of populations over dynamic landscapes, we modelled the response of the chamois to climate change from the last glaciation (20,000 years ago) to the present. We reconstructed species habitat suitability and landscape connectivity over time and simulated cumulative divergence of populations as a proxy for genetic differentiation. We then compared simulated divergence with the actual population structure of 449 chamois (with >20 k SNPs) sampled across the Alps. We found that Alpine populations of chamois are structured into two main clades, located in the south‐western and the eastern Alps. The contact zone between the two lineages is located near the Rhone valley in Switzerland. Simulations reproduced the geographic differentiation of populations observed in the genomic data, and limited dispersal ability and landscape connectivity co‐determined the fit of the simulations to data. The contemporary genetic structure of the chamois across the Alps is explained by limited functional connectivity in combination with large rivers or valleys acting as dispersal barriers. The results of our analysis combining simulations with population genomics highlight how biological characteristics, habitat preference and landscapes shape population genetic structure over time and in responses to climate change. We conclude that spatial simulations could be used to improve our understanding of how landscape dynamics, shaped by geological or climatic forces, impact intra‐ and interspecific diversity.
... Chamois (Rupicapra spp.) are medium-sized ungulates that inhabit alpine pastures and rocky areas on the main mountain massifs of both Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al. 2011) and, exceptionally, the low elevations of river gorges (Papaioannou and Kati 2007), forested and coastal areas Kavčić et al. 2020). The current distribution of Rupicapra spp. ...
Preprint
The translocation of wild animal species became a common practice worldwide to re-establish local populations threatened with extinction. Archaeological data confirm that chamois once lived in the Biokovo Mountain but, prior to their reintroduction in the 1960s, there was no written evidence of their recent existence in the area. The population was reintroduced in the period 1964–1969 when 48 individuals of Balkan chamois from the neighbouring mountains in Bosnia and Herzegovina were released. The main objective of this study was to determine the accuracy of the existing historical data on the origin of the Balkan chamois population from the Biokovo Mountain and to assess the genetic diversity and population structure of the source and translocated populations 56 years after the first reintroduction. We used 16 microsatellite loci to analyse the genetic structure of three source chamois populations from Prenj, Čvrsnica and Čabulja Mountains and from Mt. Biokovo. Both STRUCTURE and GENELAND analyses showed a clear separation of the reintroduced population on Biokovo from Prenj’s chamois and considerable genetic similarity between the Biokovo population and the Čvrsnica–Čabulja population. This suggests that the current genetic composition of the Biokovo populations does not derive exclusively from Prenj, as suggested by the available literature and personal interviews, but also from Čvrsnica and Čabulja. GENELAND analysis recognized the Balkan chamois from Prenj as a separate cluster, distinct from the populations of Čvrsnica and Čabulja. This suggests that the Neretva River and the state M17 road are geographic barriers for the species dispersal, as they form a genetic boundary.
... The Alpine chamois is the most abundant mountain ungulate of the European Alps (Corlatti et al., 2011) and inhabits alpine areas above the tree line as well as subalpine and montane forests (cf. Reiner et al., 2021). ...
Article
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Uptake and use of energy are of key importance for animals living in temperate environments that undergo strong seasonal changes in forage quality and quantity. In ungulates, energy intake strongly affects body mass gain, an important component of individual fitness. Energy allocation among life-history traits can be affected by internal and external factors. Here, we investigate large-scale variation in body growth patterns of Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra, in relation to sex, age, temperature, and habitat variations across 31 (sub)populations in the Central European Alps. Taking advantage of an exceptionally large dataset (n = 178,175) of chamois hunted over 27 consecutive years between 1993 and 2019 in mountain ranges with different proportions of forest cover, we found that (i) patterns of body mass growth differ between mountain ranges, with lower body mass but faster mass growth with increasing proportion of forest cover and that (ii) the effect of spring and summer temperatures on changes in body growth patterns are larger in mountain ranges with lower forest cover compared to mountain ranges with higher forest cover. Our results show that patterns of body mass growth within a species are more plastic than expected and depend on environmental and climatic conditions. The recent decline in body mass observed in Alpine chamois populations may have greater impacts on populations living above the treeline than in forests, which may buffer against the effects of increasing temperatures on life-history traits.
... Chamois (Rupicapra spp.) are medium-sized ungulates that inhabit alpine pastures and rocky areas on the main mountain massifs of both Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al. 2011) and, exceptionally, the low elevations of river gorges (Papaioannou and Kati 2007), forested and coastal areas Kavčić et al. 2020). The current distribution of Rupicapra spp. ...
Article
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The Balkan chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra balcanica) is widespread on the Balkan Peninsula, along mountain massifs from Croatia in the north to Greece in the south and Bulgaria in the east. Knowledge on the genetic structure of Balkan chamois populations is limited and restricted to local studies. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to use nuclear (16 microsatellites) and mitochondrial (partial 376 base pairs control region) markers to investigate the genetic structure of this chamois subspecies throughout its distribution range and to obtain information on the degree of connectivity of the different (sub)populations. We extracted DNA from bone, dried skin and muscle tissue and successfully genotyped 92 individuals of Balkan chamois and sequenced the partial control region in 44 individuals. The Bayesian analysis suggested 3 genetic clusters and assigned individuals from Serbia and Bulgaria to two separate clusters, while individuals from the other countries belonged to the same cluster. Thirty new haplotypes were obtained from partial mitochondrial DNA sequences, with private haplotypes in all analyzed populations and only two haplotypes shared among populations, indicating the possibility of past translocations. The subspecies genetic composition presented here provides the necessary starting point to assess the conservation status of the Balkan chamois and allows the development of conservation strategies necessary for its sustainable management and conservation.
... The Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) is a mediumsized mountain ungulate and can be found in open highlands and forests (Corlatti et al. 2011). Their social behaviour as a gregarious species may hinder the application of camera trapping methods that require accurate calculation of group size, as a higher sample size may be needed. ...
Article
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Methods for estimating population densities of unmarked species using camera traps are still under development. One such method is called "Random Encounter Model (REM)" and, to our knowledge, has never been used to estimate densities of mountaindwelling ungulates. In this study, we tested the REM method to estimate the density of Balkan chamois ( Rupicapra r. balcanica ) in a Mediterranean habitat, Mountain Biokovo. To meet the assumptions of REM, we systematically placed 25 camera traps throughout the known range of the population (approximately 65 km 2 ) at the intersections of 2-km grid cells. Prior to data collection, population density was estimated by visual counts on sample plots in August 2020. Cameras were operational between July 2020 and September 2020 and active throughout the 24-hour period. All parameters for REM (i.e., average movement speed, angle and radius) were estimated using exclusively camera trap data. We obtained 279 independent events of chamois from 2503 camera trap days. The density estimate obtained by REM resulted to be 20.65 ± 5.27 ind. km -2 , slightly higher than the reference value obtained by visual counts: 17.33 ± 0.98 ind. km -2 . Other parameters required to calculate density were speed (1.62 km·day -1 ± 0.21), detection radius (5.56 m ± 0.21) and detection angle (1.16 + 0.05 radians). Therefore, REM has shown comparable results to visual counts and may have potential for estimating density of mountain ungulates, especially in rugged and inaccessible mountainous areas with low detectability where other approaches are inadequate or impossible.
... Hybridization is recognized today as an evolutionary process in the formation of new species (Corlatti et al., 2011;Shurtliff, 2013;Cahill et al., 2018), including the genus Capra (Ropiquet and Hassanin, 2006). The fossil record of Capra from the Lower and Middle Pleistocene in the Iberian peninsula is limited and a search for new specimens is needed to better understand the evolution and differentiation of C. pyrenaica in the Iberian peninsula. ...
Article
Full-text available
The names of southwestern European goats: is Iberian ibex the best common name for Capra pyrenaica? The common name designated to a species is important because it connects specialists with non–experts. The matter of the correct common name is relevant to the conservation and management of conspicuous or flag species. The English name 'Spanish ibex' to designate Capra pyrenaica is extensive in the scientific literature, and some have defended its appropriateness. However, in our opinion, it is not the best term to designate this species. We propose that 'Iberian wild goat' should be used. Herein, we review the etymology, history, taxonomy and public use of the names used to designate goats (domestic and wild) in southwestern Europe during the last two millennia. Used first by Pliny the Elder, the name 'ibex' has been applied most often for the Alpine wild goat (C. ibex), and few authors applied this name to C. pyrenaica until the 20th century when some influential works extended its use in the scientific literature. Adult males of C. pyrenaica have lyre–shaped, and typically smooth horns that do not match the ibex morphotype, which has scimitar–shaped knotted horns. Although C. pyrenaica and C. ibex are probably phylogenetically close, their common names do not necessarily have to match. The rules of common names differ from those of scientific names. Cabra montés or cabra brava (wild goat) is the common name used by most authors in the Iberian peninsula. This name is deeply entrenched in the Iberian languages and has been used since the earliest references to the species in mediaeval times. We propose the adoption of 'Iberian wild goat' for legal and scientific communication and when interacting with the media.
... The chamois Rupicapra spp. is the most abundant mountain ungulate in Europe (Corlatti et al., 2011). Although the chamois as a genus is not at risk, some populations have recently shown a decreasing trend, and some subspecies are threatened (Anderwald et al., 2021). ...
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Investigating the impact of ecological factors on sex-and age-specific vital rates is essential to understand animal population dynamics and detect the potential for interactions between sympatric species. We used block count data and autoregressive linear models to investigate variation in birth rate, kid survival, female survival, and male survival in a population of Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra monitored over 27 years within the Stelvio National Park, Central Italian Alps, as function of climatic variables, density dependence, and interspecific competition with red deer Cervus elaphus. We also used path analysis to assess the indirect effect of deer abundance on chamois growth rate mediated by each demographic parameter. Based on previous findings, we predicted that birth rate at [t] would negatively relate to red deer abundance at year [t−1]; survival rates between [t] and [t+1] would negatively relate to red deer abundance at year [t−1] and to the interactive effect of winter precipitation at [t+1] and chamois density at [t]. Our results showed that birth rate was positively related to spring-summer precipitation in the previous year, but this effect was hampered by increasing red deer abundance. Kid and female survival rates were negatively related to the combined effect of chamois abundance and winter precipitation. Male and female survival rates were negatively related to lagged red deer abundance. The path analysis supported a negative indirect effect of red deer abundance on chamois growth rate mediated by birth rate and female survival. Our results suggest that chamois population dynamics was largely explained by the synergistic effect of density dependence and winter harshness, as well as by interspecific competition with red deer, whose effects were seemingly stronger on the kid-female segment of the population.
... More generally, to avoid competition, inferior species in large herbivore communities may adapt their behaviour through spatial avoidance (Ferretti et al. 2011), shifting daily activities (Kronfeld-Schor and Dayan 2003;Šprem et al. 2015) or the use of suboptimal resources (Chirichella et al. 2013).The chamois Rupicapra spp. inhabits the mountains of Western, central and Southern Europe and Western Asia (Corlatti et al. 2011(Corlatti et al. 2020. This mountain ungulate prefers rocky habitats with steep slopes (von Elsner-Schack 1985), but is considered a relatively plastic species that can stably inhabit forest habitats (e.g., Baumann 2005;Šprem et al. 2015). ...
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Sympatric species with similar niches compete for common resources, often resulting in spatio-temporal avoidance. To date, little is known about the spatio-temporal interactions of ungulates in forested habitats. Using camera traps, we investigated the spatio-temporal responses of alpine chamois to the presence of red deer in the mountain forests of northern Croatia during the four seasons of 2018/2019. We hypothesized that chamois activity patterns should be affected by the presence of red deer, leading to either temporal or spatial segregation between the species. Our results showed that chamois tended to be more active during the day when red deer were absent, and showed contrasting patterns of activity across seasons, from bimodal to multimodal. However, temporal overlap coefficients between chamois and red deer were moderate throughout the study period, ranging from 0.57 in summer to 0.68 in autumn. Conversely, we found inconsistent/random occupancy patterns of chamois and red deer at different camera trap locations in different seasons. Our results are among the few available data on the interaction of these two species in forested areas and suggest weak effects of red deer on the spatio-temporal behaviour of Alpine chamois. However, finer-scale data may be required to better understand the relationship between these species.
... The aim of our study was to explore the pros and cons of fecal NIRS to predict the diet composition of mountain ungulates, using the fecal CMA as the reference method, since, as mentioned above, it is the most common technique for diet composition assessment. We focused on the Pyrenean chamois, a medium-sized mountain-dwelling ungulate widely distributed in subalpine and alpine habitats of the Pyrenees [34]. ...
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The diet composition of ungulates is important to understand not only their impact on vegetation, but also to understand the consequences of natural and human-driven environmental changes on the foraging behavior of these mammals. In this work, we evaluated the use of near infrared reflectance spectroscopy analysis (NIRS), a quick, economic and non-destructive method, to assess the diet composition of the Pyrenean chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica. Fecal samples (n = 192) were collected from two chamois populations in the French and Spanish Pyrenees. Diet composition was initially assessed by fecal cuticle microhistological analysis (CMA) and categorized into four functional groups, namely: woody, herbaceous, graminoid and Fabaceae plants. Regressions of modified partial least squares and several combinations of scattering correction and derivative treatments were tested. The results showed that models based on the second derivative processing obtained the higher determination coefficient for woody, herbaceous and graminoid plants (R2CAL, coefficient of determination in calibration, ranged from 0.86 to 0.91). The Fabaceae group, however, was predicted with lower accuracy (R2CAL = 0.71). Even though an agreement between NIRS and CMA methods was confirmed by a Bland–Altman analysis, confidence limits of agreement differed by up to 25%. Our results support the viability of fecal NIRS analysis to study spatial and temporal variations of the Pyrenean chamois’ diets in summer and winter when differences in the consumption of woody and annual plants are the greatest. This new use for the NIRS technique would be useful to assess the consequences of global change on the feeding behavior of this mountain ungulate and also in other ungulate counterparts.
... The Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra is the most abundant mountain ungulate of the European Alps (Corlatti et al., 2011), and is morphologically and physiologically adapted to cold climates (Ascenzi et al., 1993). When faced with temporary increases in temperature, individuals show behavioral thermoregultory adaptions, for example, by moving to higher elevations or by shifting activity rhythms to more favourable times of day (Grignolio et al., 2018). ...
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Climate change is known to affect key life history traits, such as body mass, reproduction, and survival in many species. Animal populations inhabiting mountain habitats are adapted to extreme seasonal environmental conditions, but are also expected to be especially vulnerable to climate change. Studies on mountain ungulates typically focus on populations or sections of populations living above the tree line, while populations inhabiting forested habitats are largely understudied. Here, we investigate if forested areas can mitigate the impact of climatic change on life history traits by evaluating the interactive effects of temperature and habitat characteristics on body mass variation in the Alpine chamois Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra. We examined data of 20,573 yearling chamois collected from 1993 ‐ 2019 in 28 mountain ranges in the Austrian Eastern Alps, characterized by different proportion of forest cover. Our results show that the temporal decline of chamois body mass is less pronounced in areas with greater proportion of forest cover. For chamois living in forest habitats only, no significant temporal change in body mass was detected. Variation in body mass was affected by the interaction between density and snow cover, as well as by the interaction between spring temperatures and forest cover, supporting the role of forests as thermal buffer against the effects of increasing temperatures on life history traits in a mountain ungulate. In turn, this study suggests a buffering effect of forests against climate change impacts. Assessments of the consequences of climate change on the life history traits and population dynamics of mountain‐dwelling species should thus consider the plasticity of the species with respect to the use and availability of different habitat types.
... Letture consigliate: Carnevali et al., 2009;Corlatti et al., 2011;Dupré et al., 2001;Herrero et al., 2008. Cenni di corologia, morfologia e sistematica La volpe è distribuita nell'intero emisfero settentrionale, dal circolo polare al nord Africa, in nord America, Europa e Asia. ...
... Apennine Chamois may be vulnerable to many factors because their total number is small, locally decreasing, divided in only five populations, and genetic variability is very low (e.g. Lorenzini 2005, Corlatti et al. 2011. Space and food competition with livestock, especially domestic Caprinae, seem to have been the main limiting factors. ...
... Group defense occurs through direct 1384 and indirect forms of aggression, often ending with a chase or a rush, and courtship behavior 1385 patterns. Three male behavior patterns of Apennine chamois have not been described for the 1386 Northern chamois, and two of the latter have not been reported in the former (Masini and 1387 Lovari 1988; see also Corlatti et al. 2011Corlatti et al. ,2013b. Two of these patterns specific to Apennine 1388 chamois are relevant to courtship and may have been a behavioral barrier against 1389 hybridization between Northern and Southern chamois, if they were sympatric at the 1390 beginning of the Würm glaciation (Lovari 1984a; Masini and Lovari 1988 (excluding displacements) was found in summer, 54% of which corresponded to grazing, 36% 1400 ...
Chapter
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The chamois is the most abundant mountain ungulate of Europe. Although the taxonomy of the genus has been subject to continuous revisions since the beginning of the twentieth century, currently two species are recognized: the Northern chamois Rupicapra rupicapra, and the Southern chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica. In this chapter we follow this classification, and present an up-to-date synthesis of the biology, ecology, behaviour and conservation status of the two species. After introducing the taxonomic status and the recent controversies surrounding the systematic of the genus, we provide an account of the current distribution of the chamois within its native range, from the Cantabrians to the Caucasus, from Poland to Turkey. For both species, we describe: the main morphological, physiological and genetic features; the main life history traits (growth, survival and reproduction); the relationships with their environments (space use, diet) and how internal and external variables impact on population dynamics, including competition with wild and domestic ungulates; the social behaviour throughout the year and the mating system; the most relevant diseases and their demographic impacts; the issues surrounding management and conservation. This chapter will provide researchers and people interested in chamois with the opportunity to access the most relevant advances on the biology of these iconic species.
... The chamois in the east-central Alps in Italy is a widely distributed Alpine subspecies (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra) of chamois currently classified as least concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and noted by Corlatti et al. (2011) as the most abundant mountain-dwelling ungulate of Europe and the Eastern Asia. This species is experiencing a decrease in some countries in the Alps (Fig. S1, available online in Supporting Information) and is sensitive to temperature (Brivio et al. 2016). ...
Article
Global climate change can affect animal ecology in numerous ways, but researchers usually emphasize undesirable consequences. Temperature increases, for instance, can induce direct physiological costs and indirect effects via mismatches in resource needs and availability. Species living in mountainous regions, however, could experience beneficial effects because winters might become less severe. We examined the potentially opposing effects of climate change during spring, summer, and winter on recruitment in Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra). We examined initial recruitment (i.e., the ratio of kids to adult females) and net recruitment (i.e., the ratio of yearlings to adult females) of Alpine chamois through the use of linear mixed effects models and data from block count censuses performed across a 1,500‐km2 study area in the Italian Alps during summer from 2001 to 2015. Initial recruitment was relatively resistant to the effects of climate change, declining slightly over the study period. We suggest that the effects of increased forage availability and lower snow cover in winter may benefit the reproductive output of adult females, compensating for any negative effects of trophic mismatch and higher temperatures during summer. By contrast, net recruitment strongly declined throughout the study period, consistent with the slight decline of initial recruitment and the negative effects of increasing summer temperatures on the survival of kids during their first winter. These negative effects seemed to outweigh positive effects of climate change, even in a species strongly challenged by winter conditions. These findings provide important information for hunted populations; setting more appropriate hunting bags for yearling chamois should be considered. The ecological plasticity of the chamois, which also inhabits low altitudes, may allow a possible evolutionary escape for the species. © 2020 The Wildlife Society. Assessing the potentially opposing effects of climate change during spring, summer, and winter on population recruitment in Alpine chamois, we revealed a decrease in survival of kids during their first winter during the study period. Therefore, it is important to set appropriate upper limits on yearling harvest in management plans or, in extreme case, to exclude them completely, sensitive to their decreasing survival.
... The Northern chamois, R. rupicapra, is a nearlymonomorphic ungulate distributed on the mountains of Europe and the Near East (Corlatti et al., 2011). Although the intensity of sexual selection in male chamois is probably lower than in highly polygynous mountain ungulates (Corlatti et al., 2015a), two reproductive tactics occur: territorial males, who defend a small area (c. ...
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In polygynous ungulates, male breeding success is often achieved through alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs). The maintenance of ARTs in this taxon is largely explained by condition-dependent selection, a decision rule in which individuals switch their breeding behaviour on the basis of internal factors such as ageing (status-dependent selection), or external factors such as weather conditions during the rut (environment-dependent selection). In some species, however, ARTs are fixed during the mating season, and other forms of selective pressures rather than environment-dependent selection may contribute to the evolutionary maintenance of male types within populations. Assuming female vicinity as a proxy of mating opportunity, we explored the effect of snow depth variations on the elevational overlap between females, and territorial and non-territorial male chamois, Rupicapra rupicapra, in three consecutive rutting seasons. In snow-free periods, females overlapped with non-territorial males, but not with territorial ones. With increasing snow depth, females and territorial males progressively occupied similar elevations. Our results suggest that snow cover variations may impose changes in the spatial distribution of males and females. In turn, weather stochasticity over multiple ruts, rather than within-rut environment-dependent selection, may impose variations in mating opportunities of ARTs, possibly contributing to the coexistence of different phenotypes within populations.
Technical Report
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Ce rapport, portant sur 125 espèces au total, reprend l'évaluation réalisée par espèce dans le cadre de la Liste rouge des mammifères de métropole de 2017 (Comité français de l'Union internationale pour la conservation de la nature, Muséum national d'Histoire naturelle, Société française pour l'étude et la protection des mammifères & Office national de la chasse et de la faune sauvage).
Conference Paper
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Chamois hunting and chamois exploitation in Italy at the time of the Epigravettian – Over 30 sites were analysed, where the two species of chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata and Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra) were both discovered. Chamois prevails at Riparo Soman and at three cave sites (Maritza, di Ortucchio, and di Pozzo). At five sites the percentages range from 18 to 30% (Riparo Villabruna A, Riparo- Grotticella di Santa Maria, Riparo Piastricoli, Grotta Mora Cavorso and Grotta-Riparo del Romito). Elsewhere, at some 20 more sites, chamois remains range from 1% to 8%. Compared to other ungulates, there was apparently a scarcity of chamois herds. We suspect that this was a quite difficult hunt, as chamois ease in steep and rocky areas often inaccessible to humans. Chamois hunting is often associated with ibex hunting as those species share a very similar habitat. Chamois hunting, which mostly happened between summer and autumn, was mainly directed at adults. Iin some instance the prey was brought back either whole or in large portions, to be eventually partitioned at a cave site.
Article
The scale of anthropogenic transformation of the Caucasian chamois population is shown based on the example of a local grouping of chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra caucasica Lydekker 1910) from the Lagonaki Plateau (northwestern Caucasus). It has been established that the theoretical area of the range of the local chamois grouping under study is 58000 ha and the fodder capacity is 45 individuals/1000 ha. The actual area of the range is currently approximately 20000 ha, thereby having decreased by 66% over the last 100 years. At the present time, the density of the grouping does not exceed five individuals/1000 ha; i.e., it is nine times lower than its theoretically possible value. No positive dynamics of the population is observed, despite the nature reserve status of this area over the past 23 years. It has been concluded that the metapopulation structure of chamois is gradually simplified and the prospect of the long-term conservation of the species in the northwestern Caucasus is under threat.
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Wildlife is frequently infected by intestinal protozoa, which may threaten their fitness and health. A diverse community of Eimeria species is known to occur in the digestive tract of mountain-dwelling ungulates, including chamois (genus Rupicapra). However, available data on Eimeria diversity in these taxa is at times inconsistent and mostly dated. In the present study, we aimed to revisit the occurrence of Eimeria spp. in the Alpine subspecies of the Northern chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra rupicapra) and the Apennine subspecies of the Southern chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata) in Italy, using an integrated approach based on a hierarchical cluster analysis (HCPC) applied to oocyst morphology and morphometry. A total of 352 fecal samples were collected from R. r. rupicapra (n = 262) and R. p. ornata (n = 90). Overall, 85.3% (300/352) of the animals tested microscopically positive to Eimeria spp. Based on morphological analysis, we identified all the eimerian species described in chamois. Through the HCPC method, five clusters were generated, corresponding to E. suppereri, E. yakimoffmatschoulskyi, E. riedmuelleri (two different clusters), and E. rupicaprae morphotypes. The well-defined clusters within E. riedmuelleri support the existence of two distinct morphological groups, possibly referable to different taxonomic units. This study suggests that combining a morphometrical approach with a powerful statistical method may be helpful to disentangle uncertainties in the morphology of Eimeria oocysts and to address taxonomic studies of eimeriid protozoa at a specific host taxon level.
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RIASSUNTO Il camoscio è spesso presente nei siti dell'Epigravettiano, ma soltanto in rari casi è l'animale prevalentemente cacciato. Lo scopo di questo studio è di ricostruire l'importanza del camoscio nella sussistenza tenendo conto del rapporto con gli altri ungulati e delle diverse aree geografiche della penisola. Vengono analizzati oltre 30 siti con presenza di resti di camoscio considerando le due differenti specie esistenti (Rupicapra pyrenaica e Rupicapra rupicapra). Il camoscio prevale, con percentuali superiori al 40% a Riparo Soman e in tre siti dell'Italia centrale (Grotta Maritza, Grotta di Ortucchio, Grotta di Pozzo). In altri 5 siti, ampiamente distribuiti sulla penisola, è ben rappresentato con percentuali del 18-30% (Riparo Villabruna A, Riparo-Grotticella di Santa Maria, Riparo Piastricoli, Grotta Mora Cavorso, Grotta-Riparo del Romito). È presente con percentuali variabili dell'1-8% negli altri 20 e più siti analizzati. In molti casi la caccia al camoscio è correlata con quella allo stambecco con cui condivide quasi del tutto l' habitat. La caccia è indirizzata prevalentemente verso individui adulti ma le classi giovanili sono ben rappresentate. Il periodo di cattura sembra essere compreso principalmente tra l'estate e l'autunno. L'analisi delle porzioni scheletriche documenta che in alcuni casi la preda veniva portata intera o in larghe porzioni all'interno dei siti dove veniva poi macellata, come dimostrano i tagli e gli impatti sulle ossa. Si evidenzia, nelle differenti fasi dell'Epigravettiano, una scarsa disponibilità di gruppi di camoscio rispetto agli altri ungulati e probabilmente la difficoltà di cattura di prede molto agili e che prediligono zone scoscese ed impervie.
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haplotypes ranged from 0.05% to 0.25%. One chamois from the High Tatra (subspecies R. r. tatrica) was examined and showed the standard haplotype found in R. r. rupicapra. MtDNA in chamois from Catalunya, belonging to R. pyrenaica pyrenaica, was polymorphic for two haplotypes not found in any population of R. rupicapra. Mean nucleotide divergence among haplotypes found in R. rupicapra and R. pyrenaica was 0.56% (SD = 0.16%). Based on this value, an estimated divergence time of about 280 000 years suggests that the mtDNA lineages of R. rupicapra and R. pyrenaica separated prior to the Riss glacial in the later Pleistocene.
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We considered variation in mortality over 8 years in a protected population of isards (Pyrenean chamois; Rupicapra pyrenaica) within the Pyrenean National Park using monthly systematic skull collection. After testing the stationary-type pattern of estimates of mortality of the living population, we (i) analysed the composition of a sample of dead animals in terms of age and sex; (ii) investigated temporal patterns of mortality and their relationship with winter severity; (iii) tested for sexual differences in mortality rates in this weakly sexually dimorphic species. Of 588 animals found dead from natural causes, 114 were kids (19.4%). No statistical differences existed in the composition of the sample according to sex (the ratio of males to females was 1/1.13). Age at death did not differ significantly between the sexes or among years. A positive relationship was found between winter severity (expressed as cumulative snowfall) and mortality rates for both kids and adults. During mild winters, the mortality rate was low (a mean of 38.4 carcasses per year versus 124 per year in severe winters) and was concentrated on the oldest animals, mainly males. Based on 303 skulls more than 1 year old, annual survivorship curves revealed a period of low mortality (prime age) extending to 9 and 10 years of age for males and females, respectively, followed by a period of increasing mortality (senescence). Our results are commented on in light of recent publications on the demography of populations of large herbivores.
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ABSTRACT  In ungulates, big males with large weapons typically outcompete other males over access to estrous females. In many species, rapid early growth leads to large adult mass and weapon size. We compared males in one hunted and one protected population of Alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) to examine the relationship between horn length and body mass. We assessed whether early development and hunter selectivity affected age-specific patterns of body and horn size and whether sport hunting could be an artificial selection pressure favoring smaller horns. Adult horn length was mostly independent of body mass. For adult males, the coefficient of variation of horn length (0.06) was <50% of that for body mass (0.16), suggesting that horn length presents a lower potential for selection and may be less important for male mating success than is body mass. Surprisingly, early development did not affect adult mass because of apparent compensatory growth. We found few differences in body and horn size between hunted and protected populations, suggesting the absence of strong effects of hunting on male phenotype. If horn length has a limited role in male reproductive success, hunter selectivity for males with longer horns is unlikely to lead to an artificial selective pressure on horn size. These results imply that the potential evolutionary effects of selective hunting depend on how the characteristics selected by hunters affect individual reproductive success.
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Studying between-sex differences in body growth has strong implications for understanding life-history tactics of animals. We used age and carcass mass data from 2,312 female and 2,622 male alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) harvested in the French Alps to model the sex-specific body growth patterns of this species. Males were heavier (asymptotic body mass: 29.6 kg) than females (22.3 kg), with an adult sexual size dimorphism of 32.4%. Sexual size dimorphism originated from both differences in body growth after 1.5 years of age and differences in length of the growth period. Females reached asymptotic body mass almost 3 years earlier (3.5 years) than males (6.2 years). We also found that females 1st reproduced before achieving asymptotic growth, at 78% of their asymptotic body mass. Between-sex differences in growth patterns in this species are most likely due to stronger selection pressure for larger size in males than in females due to intrasexual competition.
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The Apennine chamois (Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata) is a highly endangered mountain ungulate. About 800 individuals still survive in central Apennines, Italy. Current conservation projects involve genetic identification of single animals, paternity tests, and assessment of relatedness. A suite of 60 microsatellite primer pairs from domestic bovids and cervids revealed polymorphisms for 10 loci, providing evidence for a low level of genetic variability, which might be a consequence of severe population bottlenecks and prolonged permanence at low numbers.
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Analysis of the genetic diversity of the Alpine chamois in Italy was conducted using a pool of 26 microsatellite loci. A total of 209 animals were analyzed, representing six geographical populations from different location of the Southern slope of the Alps. Clear genetic differences have emerged between the sampled chamois groups. Some were consistent with an isolation-by-distance model. However, in parallel, other mechanisms intervened in areas that, in addition to being peripheral to the main alpine ridge, had suffered from recent bottlenecks. In such areas, genetic drift and a low rate of gene flow are likely explanations for the current genetic structure. KeywordsAlpine chamois- Rupicapra rupicapra -Population structure-Microsatellite
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In 1995, the hitherto Sarcoptes-free alpine chamois (Rupicapra rupicapra) of the Dolomite Alps (Italy) were affected by scabies for the first time after the spread of the disease from a neighbouring focus in Austria. Since then, four Agencies cooperated to warrant monitoring of the spatial and temporal progress of the outbreak and further active surveillance was carried out within an intensive study area. In ten years, 15 meta-populations numbering 10,000 chamois and 210,000ha were encompassed with a maximum distance of 55km from the index case. “Oil spot” advancement of the epidemic was observed together with “jumps” of 9 to 20km followed by spreading of the infection to the intervening population units. Demographic decline of the four meta-populations so far affected for a minimum of six years ranged between 49 and 77% (x = 62.5 ±13.5x = 62.5 \pm 13.5), whereas similar post-epidemic densities of 1.1 to 1.7 heads/100ha (x = 1.5 ±0.27x = 1.5 \pm 0.27) were recorded. Contiguous resistant and sensitive herds with similar pre-epidemic density were detected on a smaller population scale, suggesting complementary mechanisms intervening besides density-dependence as determinants of the outbreak outcome. No sex or age class showed a higher sensitivity to scabies out of a sample of 1,696 infected chamois. A peak prevalence of free-ranging chamois bearing overt scabietic lesions was observed in January and February. Cases were only sporadically diagnosed in other sympatrc wild ruminants (Cervus elaphus, Capreolus capreolus and Ovis gmelini musimon), whereas all four alpine ibex (Capra ibex ibex) herds living in the surveyed area suffered from scabies-induced decline.
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Background The chamois, distributed over most of the medium to high altitude mountain ranges of southern Eurasia, provides an excellent model for exploring the effects of historical and evolutionary events on diversification. Populations have been grouped into two species, Rupicapra pyrenaica from southwestern Europe and R. rupicapra from eastern Europe. However, a previous study of cytochrome b revealed that the two proposed species were non-monophyletic. The reconstruction of phylogenetic relationships between animal species often depends on the markers studied. To further elucidate the evolutionary history of chamois, we extended earlier studies by analysing DNA sequences of four mitochondrial regions (ND1, 12S, tRNApro and Control Region) and microsatellites (20 loci) to include all subspecies and cover its entire distribution range. Results We found discordant microsatellite (μsat) and mitochondrial (mt) DNA phylogenies. Mitochondrial phylogenies form three clades, West, Central and East (mtW, mtC and mtE), at variance with taxonomic classification. Our divergence age estimates indicate an initial separation into branches mtW-mtC and mtE 1.7 million years ago (mya), in the late Pliocene-early Pleistocene, quickly followed by the split of clades mtW and mtC. Clade mtW contains haplotypes from the Iberian peninsula and the western Alps, Clade mtC includes haplotypes from the Apennines and the Massif of Chartreuse and Clade mtE comprises populations to the east of the Alps. Divergence among populations within these three major clades is recent (< 0.5 mya). New microsatellite multilocus genotypes added to previously published data revealed differences between every pair of subspecies, forming three well defined groups (μsatW, μsatC and μsatE) also with a strong geographic signature. Grouping does not correspond with the mitochondrial lineages but is closer to morphology and taxonomic classification. Recent drastic reductions in population size can be noted for the subspecies ornata as an extremely low diversity. Conclusions The phylogeographic patterns for mtDNA and microsatellites suggest an evolutionary history with limited range contractions and expansions during the Quaternary period and reflect a major effect of the Alpine barrier on west-east differentiation. The contrasting phylogenies for mtDNA and microsatellites indicate events of hybridization among highly divergent lineages in the central area of distribution. Our study points to the importance of reticulate evolution, with periods of isolation and reduction of population size followed by expansions and hybridizations, in the diversification at the level of close species or subspecies.
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The relationship between species is usually represented as a bifurcating tree with the branching points representing speciation events. The ancestry of genes taken from these species can also be represented as a tree, with the branching points representing ancestral genes. The time back to the branching points, and even the branching order, can be different between the two trees. This possibility is widely recognized, but the discrepancies are often thought to be small. A different picture is emerging from new empirical evidence, particularly that based on multiple loci or on surveys with a wide geographical scope. The discrepancies must be taken into account when estimating the timing of speciation events, especially the more recent branches. On the positive side, the different timings at different loci provide information about the ancestral populations.
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The chamois is a useful species with which to investigate the combined genetic impact of habitat fragmentation, over hunting, and translocations. Genetic variation within and between chamois (genus Rupicapra) populations was analyzed in 259 individuals from 16 sampling sites located in Italy, Spain, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic. Two mitochondrial DNA markers (control region and cytochrome b) and 11 nuclear microsatellites were typed. The principal results of this study can be summarized as follows: 1) high and significant differentiation between almost all chamois populations is observed even on a microgeographical scale, probably caused by the patchy distribution of this species, sharp geographical barriers to gene flow, and drift effects related to recent bottlenecks; 2) historical translocation events have left a clear genetic signature, including interspecific hybridization in some Alpine localities; 3) the Apennine subspecies of chamois, Rupicapra pyrenaica ornata, shows a high and similar level of divergence (about 1.5 My) from the Pyrenean (Rupicapra pyrenaica pyrenaica) and the Alpine (Rupicapra rupicapra) chamois; therefore, the specific status of these taxa should be revised. These results confirm the potential of population genetic analyses to dissect and interpret complex patterns of diversity in order to define factors important to conservation and management.
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The availability of genome-wide data provides unprecedented opportunities for resolving difficult phylogenetic relationships and for studying population genetic processes of mutation, selection, and recombination on a genomic scale. The use of appropriate statistical models becomes increasingly important when we are faced with very large datasets, which can lead to improved precision but not necessarily improved accuracy if the analytical methods have systematic biases. This review provides a critical examination of methods for analyzing genomic datasets from multiple loci, including concatenation, separate gene-by-gene analyses, and statistical models that accommodate heterogeneity in different aspects of the evolutionary process among data partitions. We discuss factors that may cause the gene tree to differ from the species tree, as well as strategies for estimating species phylogenies in the presence of gene tree conflicts. Genomic datasets provide computational and statistical challenges that are likely to be a focus of research for years to come.
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Sarcoptic mange is the most severe infection in chamois in the Eastern Alps. This study analyses and discusses data from two mange foci in the Foresta Demaniale di Tarvisio (NE Italy). The first impact of mange on naive host populations was dramatic, with mortality rates of over 80%. The chamois herds were decimated, but they recovered quite fast and two later epizootics were observed to have a far less severe impact on the chamois population. Intervals between successive waves lasted 10 to 15 years. No sign of low reproductive performance nor evidence of a poor physical condition of the animals was observed in the years preceding the new epizootic waves. Mortality rates were only slightly influenced by the density of the host population. In a long lasting focus of disease, adult males appeared more vulnerable to mange than other sex and age classes. Cases of mange were also more frequent in winter and spring. This seasonal trend may be explained by the interaction between the dynamics of mites, ethological patterns-rut activity-and the poorer physical condition of the host during this period.
Article
Fast multiple rotation rolling (FMRR), a novel and efficient surface nanocrystallization technique, was used to fabricate a nanostructured layer in the surface of low carbon steel. The microstructure of the surface layer was characterized by transmission electron microscopy, optical microscope and scanning electron microscopy, and mechanical properties were investigated by microhardness measurements, tensile measurements and friction and wear tests. In addition, the fracture and wear scars morphologies were observed by scanning electron microscopy. Experimental results indicated that a deformation layer with thickness about 200μm is clearly observed in the FMRR sample surface. A nanostructured layer of 30μm thick is obtained, with grain size ranging from 8 to 18nm and average grain size about 14nm in the top surface layer. The microhardness of the FMRR sample change gradiently along the depth from about 316HV in the top surface layer to about 160HV in the matrix, which is nearly twice harder than that of the original sample. The ultimate tensile strength has also been markedly improved. And the friction and wear experiments show that tribological properties of the low carbon steel have been enhanced by FMRR treatment.
Article
Die Ausbreitung eines großen Seuchenzuges im letzten Jahrhundert wird geschildert. Die Gamsräude war zu dieser Zeit vor allem auf die Zentralalpen beschränkt. Vor etwa 40 Jahren begann ein neuer Seuchenzug. Die heutige Ausdehnung der Räude übertrifft die Räudegebiete früherer Jahrhunderte. In großen Teilen sind nun auch die Kalkalpen betroffen. Ein weiteres Vordringen der Gamsräude an der West- und Südgrenze des Verbreitungsgebietes ist wahrscheinlich. Die Möglichkeiten, das Seuchenareal zu begrenzen, vor allem durch Veränderungen in der jagdlichen Planung, werden diskutiert.
Article
Twenty-one adult male chamois were radio-tracked from February 2000 to November 2002, in Gran Paradiso National Park, Graie Alps, Italy. The median size of annual home ranges was 70 ha (Kernel 95%). Home range size in the warm months was significantly much larger than in the cold period. In the summer, all males moved to greater altitudes (about 2200 m a.s.l.), whereas they lived at ca 1950 m a.s.l. in the winter. Two strategies of space use were detected: 76.2% of male chamois were residents (i.e., overlapping or contiguous summer and winter home ranges), whereas the others were seasonal migrants (i.e. well separate summer and winter home ranges). In the warm months, the home ranges of migrants were significantly much larger and at higher altitudes than those of residents. Resident males may gain a reproductive advantage over migrants in years with a snow cover during the rut (i.e. when females descend to low altitudes, where resident males live), whereas migrants could be favoured in ruts with little or no snow (i.e. when females stay at high altitudes during the rut). Thus, both male spatial strategies can persist in the same population.
Article
The chamois Rupicapra rupicapra has been termed a highly polygynous species, with a great male competition for mating. If so, a lower survival should be expected for the male sex. From 1986 to 2000, 1801 carcasses of chamois were collected in the Maritime Alps Regional Park, Italy, where a protected, healthy, stable population of chamois occurred (c. 12 individuals 100 ha−1). Each year, population structure from carcasses was consistent with that from the count carried out on the preceding year on live individuals. Demographic features (assessed from mortality data, as well as from live counts) showed a balanced age structure and a good adult survival (10% individuals older than 11 years). Mortality peaks showed a cyclic pattern of 3–4 years. Winter severity and local density affected survival, with no significant difference between sexes. The number of carcasses was dependent on the combination of snow depth and mean temperature, in winter. Both sexes showed nearly the same survivorship curves, with a quite similar life expectancy in the first year (males=6.8 years, females=7.0 years), and the same maximum age at death (16 years), as it may be expected in a monomorphic, monogamous species. This is, however, a rare event among polygynous species, with a high male competition for females and male juvenile dispersion, which normally affect male survival. The similar adult survival of the two sexes could be explained by comparable energetic costs and risks for reproduction, or through greater fat reserves put on by males, before the rut, which may lower their winter mortality.
Article
Measurements of skull and horns in six subspecies of Rupicapra rupicapra L. (pyrenaica, ornata, cartusiana, balcanica, carpatica, caucasica) have been evaluated statistically. R. r. pyrenaica and ornata have the smallest skulls, the closest horn bases, and obliterated frontomaxillary fontanelles. They have also similarly patterned winter coats. On the basis of such features pyrenaica and ornata are separate from the other subspecies which do not seem to differentiate much from each other. On the other hand, pyrenaica has a much smaller body size than ornata as well as the shortest and thinnest horns, whereas ornata has the longest and stoutest horns of all the subspecies examined. Furthermore, the ornate's frontomaxillary fontanelle is much longer than pyrenaica' s.R. r. cartusiana has several features intermediate between the pyrenaica-ornata group and the other subspecies.On the basis of some palaeontologic evidence we advance the hypothesis that the chamois living on the Riss glaciation belonged to the pyrenaica-ornata type. During the Würm, the Rissian chamois may have come into contact with an eastern population of chamois belonging to the “Alpine” type which had developed features of its own during the Eem interglacial. Such a Würmian population could have absorbed the remaining Rissian chamois, but it could have failed to reach the Central Apennines (Abruzzo) and the Pyrenees, where the last Rissian chamois survive till now. The long separation of these two isolated populations may account for their differences.
Article
The Rupicaprini originated during the Miocene in Asia and dispersed during the late Miocene-early Pliocene, the Villafranchian, and the middle Pleistocene. Rupicapra and Oreamnos spread respectively to Europe and to North America in the middle Pleistocene. The Villafranchian Procamptoceras may be considered to be the closest known form to Rupicapra's ancestor. Rupicapra evolved during the middle and late Pleistocene in west Eurasia. At the beginning of the Würm glaciation the two closely related species R. pyrenaica and R. rupicapra were in existence. The former was already geographically split into Spanish-Pyrenean and central-southern Apennines groups, while the latter species ranged from the Caucasus to the Alpine Arch. R. pyrenaica shows more conservative features and possibly differentiated directly in western Europe from older representatives of the genus that migrated to western Europe in the middle Pleistocene. The cold-adapted Alpine chamois may have differentiated in eastern Europe and then migrated west-ward because of the advent of dry climates in the east Mediterranean and Pontic regions. The Alpine chamois failed to spread to the warmer southernmost regions of Europe that became a refugium area for R. pyrenaica. This dispersal hypothesis explains the morphologic, biometric, electrophoretic, and behavioral differences among modern chamois populations.
Article
Reproductive parameters, kidney fat index and grazing activity of both sexes of Cantabrian chamois Rupicapra pyrenaica parva (Cabrera, 1910) in relation to age, season and year are presented and compared with those of other chamois subspecies and cervids. Females younger than three years old had not ovulated. Ovulated ovaries were significantly heavier than non-ovulated ovaries in March-April, and these differences remained until the following rutting season. All pregnant females carried a single foetus. A significant decrease in the percentage of parous females was found in 3-11 years age class (94%) compared with > 11 years (50%). There were no differences in the kidney fat index (KFI) between age classes for either of the sexes throughout the study period. Females showed a significant higher KFI in August-October 1993 than in August-October 1992, coinciding with a significantly greater abundance of grass in 1993. Throughout the year KFI in females showed less fluctuations than in males. Males began the rutting season with a significant KFI three times higher than did females. However, by the spring, the KFI of the males had fallen to half of that of the females. In March-April pregnant females showed a significantly higher KFI than non-pregnant or late-conception adult females. Feeding activity of females and sward height throughout the year were inversely related. Females grazed more actively than males in the summer, rut and spring, except in winter where no differences in feeding activity between sexes were found. The differences in the KFI and feeding activity are discussed in relation to the parental investment and the sexual dimorphism-body size theory.
Article
Molecular techniques have enabled behavioural ecologists to reassess mating systems from a genetic perspective. Studies of paternity frequently reveal that mating behaviour does not always reflect parentage, and may bring to light alternative mating tactics. Here we present a comparison of behavioural and genetic measures of male reproductive success in a mammalian mating system in which both sexes are highly promiscuous. Rather than having a stable harem social structure, Soay rams (Ovis aries) on the island of Hirta, St Kilda, UK usually consort with individual oestrous ewes sequentially. Not all matings occur between consort pairs, however, and ewes have been seen to mate with up to 10 different rams on the same day. Using locus-specific polymorphism at five protein and 10 microsatellite DNA loci, we determined paternity for 236 lambs born into three cohorts, and compared paternity with estimates of mating success derived from more than one census of rutting behaviour. The correlation between the number of ewes with which each ram was witnessed in consort and the number of paternities assigned was positive and statistically significant, and rams that were observed in consort with a ewe were 18 times more likely to have sired her offspring than other candidate rams. However, most lambs (73%) were not sired by a ram seen in consort with the oestrous mother. Many juveniles, yearlings and some adult rams were rarely seen in consort with ewes, yet were assigned a significant number of paternities. These results suggest that mating tactics differ between age groups, and that alternative mating strategies among adults that do not involve forming consorts with many females also confer mating success. For these reasons, census-based observations of consort associations between individuals cannot be used to accurately estimate individual male reproductive success in this population.