Observation of mother-perpetrated infanticide in golden takins (Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi)

Hai Tao Zhao, Wen Qing Zhang, Kang Sheng Jia, Jia Xuan Li, Xu Xiang Bai, Xiao Wei Wang, Song Tao Guo, Shu Jun He, Hong Juan Sun, Ying Hu Lei, Ru Liang Pan, Bao Guo Li

Research output: Contribution to journalLetter

Abstract

Infanticide by unrelated individuals is widely reported in the animal kingdom; however, little is known about cases perpetrated by a parent, particularly the mother. This article reports on three cases of mother-initiated infanticide in Qinling golden takins ( Budorcas taxicolor bedfordi) recorded from video and camera images. Based on previous reports in other animals, we propose that the infanticide events observed in golden takins were related to the parental manipulation mechanism - i.e., killing an unhealthy infant to allow the mother to invest more care in potentially healthy offspring, and gain more fruitful reproductive opportunities. This appears to be an evolutionary-based selection strategy, whereby a species can prosper and succeed under the challenges of natural selection. However, further studies on both captive and wild populations are required to answer the various questions raised from our observations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)455-457
Number of pages3
JournalZoological Research
Volume41
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 18 Jul 2020

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