How attractive is the girl next door? An assessment of spatial mate acquisition and paternity in the solitary Cape Dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus

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dc.contributor.author Bray, Timothy C.
dc.contributor.author Bloomer, Paulette
dc.contributor.author O'Riain, M. Justin
dc.contributor.author Bennett, Nigel C., 1961-
dc.contributor.editor Laudet, Vincent
dc.date.accessioned 2012-08-28T06:11:11Z
dc.date.available 2012-08-28T06:11:11Z
dc.date.issued 2012-06-29
dc.description.abstract Behavioural observations of reproduction and mate choice in wild fossorial rodents are extremely limited and consequently indirect methods are typically used to infer mating strategies. We use a combination of morphological, reproductive, spatial, and genetic data to investigate the reproductive strategy of a solitary endemic species, the Cape dune mole-rat Bathyergus suillus. These data provide the first account on the population dynamics of this species. Marked sexual dimorphism was apparent with males being both significantly larger and heavier than females. Of all females sampled 36% had previously reproduced and 12% were pregnant at the time of capture. Post-partum sex ratio was found to be significantly skewed in favour of females. The paternity of fifteen litters (n = 37) was calculated, with sires assigned to progeny using both categorical and full probability methods, and including a distance function. The maximum distance between progeny and a putative sire was determined as 2149 m with males moving between sub-populations. We suggest that above-ground movement should not be ignored in the consideration of mate acquisition behaviour of subterranean mammals. Estimated levels of multiple paternity were shown to be potentially as high as 26%, as determined using sibship and sire assignment methods. Such high levels of multiple paternity have not been found in other solitary mole-rat species. The data therefore suggest polyandry with no evidence as yet for polygyny. en
dc.description.librarian ab2012 en
dc.description.sponsorship The Department of Science and Technology and the National Research Foundation for funding from the South African Research Chairs Initiative Chair for Mammal Behavioural Ecology and Physiology awarded to NB. Funding was also provided by the University of Pretoria in provision of TB’s postdoctoral fellowship. en
dc.description.uri http://www.plosone.org en
dc.identifier.citation Bray TC, Bloomer P, O’Riain MJ, Bennett NC (2012) How Attractive Is the Girl Next Door? An Assessment of Spatial Mate Acquisition and Paternity in the Solitary Cape Dune Mole-Rat, Bathyergus suillus. PLoS ONE 7(6): e39866. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0039866 en
dc.identifier.issn 1932-6203
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2263/19648
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher Public Library of Science en
dc.rights © 2012 Bray et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License en
dc.subject Mate choice en
dc.subject Cape dune mole-rat en
dc.subject Bathyergus suillus en
dc.subject.lcsh Bathyergidae -- Reproduction en
dc.subject.lcsh Courtship in animals en
dc.subject.lcsh Sexual behavior in animals en
dc.title How attractive is the girl next door? An assessment of spatial mate acquisition and paternity in the solitary Cape Dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus en
dc.type Article en


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