|SREL Reprint #1154|
E. Rhodes, Jr., Kim T. Scribner, Michael H. Smith, and Paul E. Johns,
Data were taken on 1,103 pregnant white-tailed deer
(Odocoileus virginianus) harvested from the Savannah River Plant
in South Carolina from 1965-1985 to describe temporal, age specific, and habitat
effects on fetal number. Time
periods were thought to represent periods of high and low population density.
Age was the most significant factor in altering fetal number both with
and without the data from the fawns included.
Low fetal numbers per doe in 0.5- and 1.5-year-old deer and a high
incidence of twinning in the older deer was responsible for this effect. Mean
number of fetuses per doe for the 0.5-year-old deer (x=1.06) was less than for
1.5-(x-1.56), 2.5-(x=1.73), and >3.5-(x=1.76) year-old-age classes.
Temporal and age specific effects among time periods on fetal number were
significant in the analyses using data from all age classes.
These effects were probably not related to density dependent feedback
mechanisms, but rather to a sampling bias due to differential representation of
deer of different ages or origin in the statistical analyses.
Significant differences were observed in fetal numbers between females
from the swamp and upland areas both with and without the data for the fawns.
Differences between the densities, and/or habitat quality in the 2 areas
were responsible for this effect.
SREL Reprint #1154
Rhodes, O.E., Jr., K.T. Scribner, M.H. Smith, and P.E.
Johns. 1987. Factors affecting the number of fetuses in a white
tailed deer herd. Proceedings of the Annual Conference of
Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies 39:380-388.