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Allo-parental care in Damaraland mole-rats is female biased and age dependent, though independent of testosterone levels
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, Department of Biology and Environmental Science. Univ Cambridge, UK. (Ctr Ecol & Evolut Microbial Model Syst EEMiS)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5582-2306
Univ Cambridge, UK.
Kuruman River Reserve, South Africa.
Kuruman River Reserve, South Africa;Univ Helsinki, Finland.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-6580-5016
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2018 (English)In: Physiology and Behavior, ISSN 0031-9384, E-ISSN 1873-507X, Vol. 193, p. 149-153Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damal-ensis), non-breeding subordinates contribute to the care of offspring born to the breeding pair in their group by carrying and retrieving young to the nest. In social mole-rats and some cooperative breeders, dominant females show unusually high testosterone levels and it has been suggested that high testosterone levels may increase reproductive and aggressive behavior and reduce investment in allo-parental and parental care, generating age and state-dependent variation in behavior. Here we show that, in Damaraland mole-rats, allo-parental care in males and females is unaffected by experimental increases in testosterone levels. Pup carrying decreases with age of the non-breeding helper while the change in social status from non-breeder to breeder has contrasting effects in the two sexes. Female breeders were more likely than female non-breeders to carry pups but male breeders were less likely to carry pups than male non-breeders, increasing the sex bias in parental care compared to allo-parental care. Our results indicate that testosterone is unlikely to be an important regulator of allo-parental care in mole-rats.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2018. Vol. 193, p. 149-153
Keywords [en]
Testosterone, Allo-parental care, Parental care, Sex bias, Age related polyethism
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Natural Science, Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-77725DOI: 10.1016/j.physbeh.2018.03.021ISI: 000442705500015PubMedID: 29730030Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85048731820OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-77725DiVA, id: diva2:1248157
Available from: 2018-09-14 Created: 2018-09-14 Last updated: 2019-08-29Bibliographically approved

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Zöttl, Markus

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