We report on 3 cases of mixed-aged litters (young born in different years) in brown bears (Ursus arctos); in 1 instance the cub-of-the-year (hereafter called cubs) died in the den. Two cases occurred in Sweden after mothers were separated from their young during the breeding season. In one, the mother was separated from the accompanying cub for at least 12.5 hours and possibly up to 3.3 days, and later possibly separated for 4 days. In the other, the mother was separated from her yearling at least 3 times for 1–14, 1–6 and 1–6 days. She was with a male during the first separation. Specific events that produced the mixed-aged litter observed in Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem were unknown and our interpretation is based on estimates of ages of accompanying young from photographs. The observation of only 2 mixed-aged litters, after den emergence, from a sample of 406 observed cub litters accompanying radiomarked females confirms the rarity of this phenomenon. The mechanism apparently includes a short separation of mother and young, and, in the case of cubs, the mother must mate while lactating. Better understanding of the physiological mechanisms that allow mixed-age litters would help us in the debate about the occurrence of sexually selected infanticide in bears.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 19 • No. 1