Mammalian Biology

, Volume 77, Issue 1, pp 53–59 | Cite as

Group size, sex and age composition of chital (Axis axis) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) in a deciduous habitat of Western Ghats

  • Tharmalingam Ramesh
  • Kalyanasundaram SankarEmail author
  • Qamar Qureshi
  • Riddhika Kalle
Original Investigation


Knowledge of the social structure of a population is important for a range of fundamental and applied purposes. Group characteristics and population structure of chital (Axis axis) and sambar (Rusa unicolor) were studied in a deciduous habitat of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve, Western Ghats, India, during 2008–2009. Vehicle transects were monitored monthly togather information on group-size and age-sex composition of chital and sambar. The average mean group size and crowding for chital and sambar was 13.1±0.5 (n=1020), 3.6±0.2 (n = 377) and 33.3, 11.0 respectively. The average adult male:adult female:fawn ratio was 63.4:100:22.3 (n=9391) and 43.9:100:23.7 (n=1023) in chital and sambar respectively. The mean group size of chital and sambar varied significantly between seasons (Kruskal-Wallis test, p= <0.001). Peak fawning season was observed from February to May for chital and Mayto August for sambar. Group’s sex-age composition influenced group formation in both species between seasons at different level. Adult male and fawn were the important predicting variables of change in group size. Skewed female sex ratio was probably due to selective male predation by large predators. Although fawning occurred throughout the year, both species showed seasonality in fawning. The above mentioned patterns differed between species depending upon their ecological adaptation in foraging strategies and habitat preference.


Axis axis Rusa unicolor Age structure Group size Group size predictors 


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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tharmalingam Ramesh
    • 1
  • Kalyanasundaram Sankar
    • 1
    Email author
  • Qamar Qureshi
    • 2
  • Riddhika Kalle
    • 3
  1. 1.Habitat EcologyWildlife Institute of IndiaChandrabani, Dehra DunIndia
  2. 2.Landscape EcologyWildlife Institute of IndiaChandrabani, Dehra DunIndia
  3. 3.Wildlife Institute of IndiaChandrabani, Dehra DunIndia

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