Sika Deer pp 297-317 | Cite as

Reproductive Ecology of Sika Deer on Kinkazan Island, Northern Japan: Reproductive Success of Males and Multi-Mating of Females

  • Masato Minami
  • Nobumasa Ohnishi
  • Ayumi Okada
  • Seiki Takatsuki

We recorded growth, reproductive behavior, survival, and reproductive success of 458 identified tame sika deer (Cervus nippon) in a park-like place on Kinkazan Island (9.6 km2 in area), northern Japan for 15 years (1989 to 2004). This island is covered by old-growth forests and no predator lives there. The males held mating territories. It seems advantageous for them to wait for females in their territories in this closed habitat where females formed loose groups rather than to follow the moving females passing through several territories. Males increased body weight up to five to six years old, and some of them became territory holders. No male lived longer than 14 years. Three ranks were recognized among the males dur ing the rut: TD (territorial dominants), ND (nonterritorial dominants), and SB (sub ordinates). Categorization for 15 years showed that TD, ND, and SB accounted for 19.4%, 10.8%, and 69.8% of the males, respectively. Males who became TD at least once accounted for 16.5% among the all males. Males that were dominant but did not have territories were 2.9% of all males. The remaining males (80.6%) lived as SB through their lives. Territoral dominant males had heavier body weights than ND and SB males. Reproductive success of TD was high: they monopolized as many as 67.2% of the matings. The females mated with multiple males several times during a rut, which has not been reported in red deer (Cervus elaphus). Territorial dominant male sika deer guarded estrous females both before and after mating. Male behav iors, rank promotion related to fighting ability, and reproductive success of sika deer were similar to those of red deer. However, the rutting territory was different from the mobile harem of red deer which live in more open habitats. We discuss the sig nificance of multimating and multimale mating and point out the need to determine the occurrence of this behavior in other cervid species.


Home Range Reproductive Success Sika Deer Dominant Male Multiple Mating 
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Copyright information

© Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Masato Minami
    • 1
  • Nobumasa Ohnishi
    • 2
  • Ayumi Okada
    • 3
  • Seiki Takatsuki
    • 4
  1. 1.Director, Wildlife Community InstituteKaruizawaJapan
  2. 2.Senior Researcher, Eco-planning Research Co. Ltd.HigashimurayamaJapan
  3. 3.Lecturer, Department of Environmental BioscienceSchool of Veterinary Medicine, Kitasato UniversityTowadaJapan
  4. 4.Professor, Laboratory of Wildlife Ecology and ConservationAzabu UniversitySagamiharaJapan

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