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Breeders are less active foragers than non-breeders in wild Damaraland mole-rats.

Accepted version
Peer-reviewed

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Type

Article

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Authors

Francioli, Yannick 
Finn, Kyle 
Clutton-Brock, Timothy  ORCID logo  https://orcid.org/0000-0001-8110-8969
Zöttl, Markus 

Abstract

Eusocial societies are characterized by a clear division of labour between non-breeding workers and breeding queens, and queens often do not contribute to foraging, defence and other maintenance tasks. It has been suggested that the structure and organization of social mole-rat groups resembles that of eusocial insect societies. However, the division of labour has rarely been investigated in wild mole-rats, and it is unknown whether breeders show decreased foraging activity compared with non-breeding helpers in natural groups. Here, we show that, in wild Damaraland mole-rats (Fukomys damarensis), breeders show lower activity in foraging areas than non-breeding group members. Both breeders and non-breeders displayed variation in activity across the different seasons. Our results suggest that group living allows social mole-rat breeders to reduce their investment in energetically costly behaviour, or alternatively, that the high cost of reproduction in this species forces a behavioural trade-off against foraging investment.

Description

Keywords

bio-logging, cooperative breeding, division of labour, helping, reproductive skew, social behaviour, Animals, Mole Rats, Reproduction, Seasons

Journal Title

Biol Lett

Conference Name

Journal ISSN

1744-9561
1744-957X

Volume Title

16

Publisher

The Royal Society

Rights

All rights reserved
Sponsorship
European Research Council (294494)
European Research Council (742808)
H2020 European Research Council Grant (294494 and 742808) Vetenskapsrådet (2017-05296) Crafoordska Stiftelsen (2018-2259)