Title
Communal breeding in the mara, Dolichotis patagonum
Author(s)
Taber A.B., Macdonald D.W.
Published
1992
Publisher
Journal of Zoology
Abstract
Mara social organization involves a combination of monogamous territoriality and cooperative, communal breeding that has not otherwise been described among mammals. Some pairs reared their young in communal warrens, and pup survival was greater in warrens with larger memberships. Pairs visited their young once daily and females resisted, sometimes unsuccessfully, the attempts of interloping youngsters to nurse. Stolen nursing facilitated survival of orphans. More adults were presents at larger creches, and total vigilance was thus increased despite each pair spending less time sitting alert and less time at the warren. The proportion of the day for which at least one pair was vigilant at the warren increased to 90% with larger creche sizes. Observations are compatble with hypotheses explaining the mara's social system in terms of resource dispersion, anti-predator behaviour and thermoregulation. -from Authors
Keywords
communal breeding; cooperative breeding; mara; territoriality; Dolichotis patagonum
Full Citation
Taber, A.B., Wildlife Conservation International, New York Zoological Society, Bronx, NY 10460, USA; Macdonald, D.W., Wildlife Conservation International, New York Zoological Society, Bronx, NY 10460, USA

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PUB13048