SOME CHARACTERISTICS OF ANTLEROGENSIS IN MOOSE - A PRELIMINARY REPORT
The morphological characteristics of 82 cast antlers and 191 antlers from aged moose were studied. Antler Surface Area (ASA) was found to increase in direct proportion to volume as well as to dry weight and dry weight in proportion to volume (P = 0.001 in all cases). The Enclosed Area (EA: the area enclosed by the antler tips) increased faster relative to ASA in antlers having an ASA of 650 cm2 to 1600 cm2 (mainly from 2 1/2 to 4 1/2 year old bulls). The development of the brow tines, relative to the ASA slows during this middle period (ASA 500 to as high as 1700 cm2). In the yearlings’ antlers, the brow tines have high priority in development, following this set, until an ASA of 1700 cm2 is reached (approximately 4 ½) years, general tine growth (excluding the brow) has obvious priority over palm development. The quotient of ASA over SA when plotted on the burr circumference provides a parameter of antler quality.
The distance between inner points of the brow tines becomes more narrow (i.e. more defensive) up to 7 years and probably declines in senior animals.
Moose, following the antlerogenesis pattern of other Odocoileinae, produce their first set of antlers at 6 to 8 months. A coronet is not produced until the second set. In some Odocoileinae the seal profile can be used as an indicator of the animal’s condition. In our sample this character showed great variability with age, however, we had no other data on physical condition.
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