[MARMAM] New paper on the mating system of South American sea lions

karim soto karimsoto at yahoo.com
Mon Jul 4 12:27:56 PDT 2011

Dear colleagues,

The following article was recently published in Marine Mammal Science:
South American sea lions in Peru have a lek-like mating system 
Karim H. Soto and Andrew W. Trites Volume 27, Issue 2Pages 255–454Keywords:South American sea lion;Otaria byronia;mating system;mating success;lek;sex ratiosabstractFive years of behavioral observations revealed significant effects of high air temperatures and breeding site topography on the mating system of South American sea lions in Peru. Unlike most polygynous mammals that defend females or fixed territories, male sea lions in Peru maintained positions along the shoreline where females passed each day to thermoregulate, and where most copulations occurred. Sex ratios (1 male per 17 females) and male mating success were extremely skewed (14% of males achieved 50% of the copulations, and 25% of them did not copulate at all). The mass daily movements of females toward the water and cool substrate of the shoreline, along with a highly skewed sex ratio, accentuated the difficulty for males to monopolize and restrict female movements. Females moved
 freely and chose their mates, unlike in temperate regions of their range where male South American sea lions control groups of females or access to tide pools. Our observations indicate that the South American sea lion in Peru has a lek-like breeding system. This is a rare alternative to the common male strategies of defending females and resources, and is likely an evolutionary product of their highly skewed sex ratio, protracted breeding season, and the extreme subtropical climate where they breed.A copy is available via the journal website or upon request. Best regards,

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