To investigate body mass changes in relation to reproductive behaviour in a large colony of grey-headed flying foxes (Pteropus poliocephalus)
Type of Study:
Female body condition declined during the nursing period, but did not vary in relation to sexual activity. By contrast, males accumulated body reserves prior to the breeding season, but subsequently lost over 20% of their body mass on territory defence and courtship, and lost foraging opportunities as they also defended their day roost territories at night.
Given the likely severe constraints on body mass in pteropodids, the pronounced seasonal dynamics reported here highlight the importance of body reserves for reproduction in this large but relatively little-studied taxon. Further research into the ecological and physiological drivers of body mass cycles in flying foxes should shed more light on the breeding habits of this fascinating but threatened group of animals.
Polynomial regression and GLMs
Dallis Park, NSW
Response variable :
Seasonal changes in body condition
87 males, 73 females, 2613 territory checks and 1,094 sightings
Welbergen, J. A. (2011) Fit females and fat polygynous males: seasonal body mass changes in the grey-headed flying fox. Oecologia. 165, 629–37.