Comparative ecological and behavioral adaptations of Ovibos moschatus and Rangifer tarandus
AbstractCaribou/reindeer and muskoxen are the only two ungulate species that have successfully occupied arctic tundra habitats. Although confronted with similar environmental constraints, their morphological dissimilarities have enabled them to develop unique behavioral and ecological adaptations that under most circumstances result in minimal overlap in use of forage resources. The large body and gut capacity of muskoxen have enabled them to adopt a strategy maximizing rate of forage intake and energy conservation, whereas caribou/reindeer of substantially smaller body size must pursue selective feeding, requiring high mobility and high energy expenditure. Responses to predators and insects by the two species show similar contrasts in associated energy costs. When confronted with environmental extremes that limit forage availability, competition for food may occur and the resulting differential success is a reflection of their divergent evolutionary routes.
Authors retain copyright and grant Rangifer irrevocable and non-exclusive right of publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY). This means, among other things, that anyone is free to copy and distribute the content, as long as they give proper credit to the author(s) and the journal. For further information, see Creative Commons website for human readable or lawyer readable versions.