The ecology of female social behaviour in horses, zebras and asses

Daniel Ian Rubenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


This chapter examines the female social behaviour of four equid species (horse Equus caballus, plains zebra E. burchelli, Grevy's zebra E. grevyi and onager E. hemionus, which differ in their types of sociality. Females horses and plains zebras form long-term bonds within stable groups accompanied by a single male; female Grevy's zebras and onagers change associates frequently and form unstable groups with brief association with each of several territorial males. Females of all the species compete little while foraging. Rates of agonistic interactions, bite rate, and time spent feeding are generally unaffected by group size. Being species limited by time available for foraging, their females associate to gain foraging time; even their choice of male may be made for that reason. Fission-fusion society is a mere variant upon the theme of a society based on female association. -from Author

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)13-28
Number of pages16
JournalPhysiology & Ecology Japan
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1993

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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