Spotted Hyaena

Spotted Hyaena

Alpha female spotted hyaenas breed at younger ages, have shorter interbirth intervals, and increased survival of their offspring due to increased access to food.

Although all females produce litters, alpha females have a younger age at first breeding, shorter interbirth intervals, and increased survival of offspring. These benefits are passed directly to female offspring.

The mechanism responsible for the increased fitness of high ranking females is probably the increased access to food that alpha females receive. In addition, high ranking female hyaenas seem to preferentially give birth to sons.


Image | © Tambako The Jaguar, Some Rights Reserved (CC BY-ND 2.0)
Sources | (Frank, Holekamp, & Smale, 1995; Hofer & East, 2003; Law, 2004)

 

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