Competitive growth in a cooperative mammal

Show simple item record Huchard, Elise English, Sinead Bell, Matt B.V. Thavarajah, Natan K. Clutton-Brock, Tim H. 2016-06-24T07:43:51Z 2016-05
dc.description.abstract In many animal societies where hierarchies govern access to reproduction, the social rank of individuals is related to their age and weight and slow-growing animals may lose their place in breeding queues to younger ‘challengers’ who grow faster than they do. The threat of being displaced may be expected to favour the evolution of competitive growth strategies, where individuals increase their own rate of growth in response to increases in the growth of potential rivals. While growth rates have been shown to vary in relation to changes in the social environment in several vertebrates including social fish and mammals, it is not yet known whether individuals increase their growth rates in response to increases in the growth of particular reproductive rivals. Here we show that, in wild Kalahari meerkats (Suricata suricatta), subordinates of both sexes respond to experimentally induced increases in the growth of same-sex rivals by raising their own growth rate and food intake. In addition, when individuals acquire dominant status, they show a secondary period of accelerated growth whose magnitude increases if the difference between their own weight and that of the heaviest subordinate of the same sex in their group is small. Our results show that individuals adjust their growth to the size of their closest competitor and raise the possibility that similar plastic responses to the risk of competition may occur in other social mammals, including domestic animals and primates. en_ZA
dc.description.department Zoology and Entomology en_ZA
dc.description.embargo 2016-11-30
dc.description.librarian hb2016 en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship NERC (Grant RG53472) and the ERC (Grant 294494) en_ZA
dc.description.uri en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Huchard, E, English, S, Bell, MBV, Thavarajah, NK & Clutton-Brock, T 2016, 'Competitive growth in a cooperative mammal', Nature, vol. 533, no. 7604, pp. 532-543. en_ZA
dc.identifier.issn 0028-0836 (print)
dc.identifier.issn 1476-4687 (online)
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Nature Publishing Group en_ZA
dc.rights © 2016 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Nature Publishing Group. en_ZA
dc.subject Reproduction en_ZA
dc.subject Slow-growing animals en_ZA
dc.subject Breeding queues en_ZA
dc.subject Social environment en_ZA
dc.title Competitive growth in a cooperative mammal en_ZA
dc.type Postprint Article en_ZA

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