Male immigration triggers increased growth in subordinate female meerkats.
Ecology and evolution
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Dubuc, C., & Clutton-Brock, T. (2019). Male immigration triggers increased growth in subordinate female meerkats.. Ecology and evolution, 9 (3), 1127-1134. https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4801
© 2018 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. There is increasing evidence that some vertebrates can adjust their growth rate in relation to changes in the social context that affect their probability of breeding. Here, we show that, in meerkats (Suricata suricatta), which are singular cooperative breeders, subordinate females increase in body mass after their father is replaced as the dominant male in their natal group by an immigrant male, giving them regular access to an unfamiliar and unrelated mating partner, while their brothers showed no similar increase nor did subordinate females living in other stable groups (where male immigration did not occur did) in this time period. Moreover, subordinate females showed a greater increase in growth rate when their father was succeeded by an unfamiliar immigrant male than when he was replaced by a familiar male who was already resident. These results suggest that female meerkats can adjust their rate of growth to changes in the kinship composition of their groups that provide them with increased access to unrelated breeding partners, which may occur in other mammals as well when breeding opportunities change.
Natural Environment Research Council European Research Council
European Research Council (294494)
European Commission Horizon 2020 (H2020) ERC (742808)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/ece3.4801
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/302290
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/