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Canadian Journal of Zoology

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We examined the energy expenditure of adult male yellow-bellied marmots and its relationship to various female-defense characteristics critical to male reproductive success. Resting metabolic rates of males were estimated in the laboratory via oxygen-consumption analysis, and field metabolic rates were estimated using a doubly Labeled water technique. Male home-range size, number of females defended by males, dispersion of females in the habitat, and date into the active season were considered to be predictors of male energy expenditure in excess of maintenance costs (field metabolic rate minus resting metabolic rate). Energy expenditure was best explained by a defensibility index based on the number and dispersion of females defended; expenditure increased with number and dispersion of females. Energy expenditure increased with date into the active season. Environmental constraints on male activity during the mating season may have led to a shift in male reproductive investment to later in the season, when intruder pressure by conspecifics increased. No short-term survival costs were associated with high energy expenditure; males appeared to engage in reproductive behaviors congruent with their physiological capabilities.


This is a post-print version of an article originally published in Canadian Journal of Zoology, 1995, Volume 73, Issue 10.


The version of record is available through: Canadian Science Publishing.