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1.
Nat Commun ; 12(1): 3717, 2021 06 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-34162841

RESUMO

Rawls argued that fairness in human societies can be achieved if decisions about the distribution of societal rewards are made from behind a veil of ignorance, which obscures the personal gains that result. Whether ignorance promotes fairness in animal societies, that is, the distribution of resources to reduce inequality, is unknown. Here we show experimentally that cooperatively breeding banded mongooses, acting from behind a veil of ignorance over kinship, allocate postnatal care in a way that reduces inequality among offspring, in the manner predicted by a Rawlsian model of cooperation. In this society synchronized reproduction leaves adults in a group ignorant of the individual parentage of their communal young. We provisioned half of the mothers in each mongoose group during pregnancy, leaving the other half as matched controls, thus increasing inequality among mothers and increasing the amount of variation in offspring birth weight in communal litters. After birth, fed mothers provided extra care to the offspring of unfed mothers, not their own young, which levelled up initial size inequalities among the offspring and equalized their survival to adulthood. Our findings suggest that a classic idea of moral philosophy also applies to the evolution of cooperation in biological systems.


Assuntos
Comportamento Animal/fisiologia , Herpestidae/fisiologia , Reprodução/fisiologia , Comportamento Social , Animais , Animais Recém-Nascidos , Peso Corporal/fisiologia , Cruzamento , Feminino , Masculino , Modelos Teóricos , Gravidez , Predomínio Social
2.
Trends Ecol Evol ; 36(2): 139-150, 2021 02.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-33187729

RESUMO

Research on how competitors assess (i.e., gather information on) fighting ability and contested resources, as well as how assessment impacts on contest processes and outcomes, has been fundamental to the field of dyadic (one-on-one) contests. Despite recent growth in studies of contests between social-living groups, there is limited understanding of assessment during these intergroup contests. We adapt current knowledge of dyadic contest assessment to the intergroup case, describing what traits of groups, group members, and resources are assessed, and how assessment is manifested in contest processes (e.g., behaviors) and outcomes. This synthesis helps to explain the role of individual heterogeneity in assessment and how groups are shaped by the selective pressure of contests.


Assuntos
Agressão , Comportamento Competitivo
3.
Biol Lett ; 15(12): 20190529, 2019 12 24.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-31795853

RESUMO

When breeding females compete for limited resources, the intensity of this reproductive conflict can determine whether the fitness benefits of current reproductive effort exceed the potential costs to survival and future fertility. In group-living species, reproductive competition can occur through post-natal competition among the offspring of co-breeding females. Spontaneous abortion could be a response to such competition, allowing females to curtail reproductive expenditure on offspring that are unlikely to survive and to conserve resources for future breeding opportunities. We tested this hypothesis using long-term data on banded mongooses, Mungos mungo, in which multiple females within a group give birth synchronously to a communal litter that is cared for by other group members. As predicted, abortions were more likely during dry periods when food is scarce, and in breeding attempts with more intense reproductive competition. Within breeding events, younger, lighter females carrying smaller fetuses were more likely to abort, particularly those that were also of lower rank. Our results suggest that abortion may be a means by which disadvantaged females conserve resources for future breeding attempts in more benign conditions, and highlight that female reproductive competition may be resolved long before the production of offspring.


Assuntos
Aborto Espontâneo , Herpestidae , Animais , Cruzamento , Feminino , Fertilidade , Humanos , Gravidez , Reprodução
4.
R Soc Open Sci ; 5(3): 171798, 2018 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29657784

RESUMO

Kin discrimination is often beneficial for group-living animals as it aids in inbreeding avoidance and providing nepotistic help. In mammals, the use of olfactory cues in kin discrimination is widespread and may occur through learning the scents of individuals that are likely to be relatives, or by assessing genetic relatedness directly through assessing odour similarity (phenotype matching). We use scent presentations to investigate these possibilities in a wild population of the banded mongoose Mungos mungo, a cooperative breeder in which inbreeding risk is high and females breed communally, disrupting behavioural cues to kinship. We find that adults show heightened behavioural responses to unfamiliar (extra-group) scents than to familiar (within-group) scents. Interestingly, we found that responses to familiar odours, but not unfamiliar odours, varied with relatedness. This suggests that banded mongooses are either able to use an effective behavioural rule to identify likely relatives from within their group, or that phenotype matching is used in the context of within-group kin recognition but not extra-group kin recognition. In other cooperative breeders, familiarity is used within the group and phenotype matching may be used to identify unfamiliar kin. However, for the banded mongoose this pattern may be reversed, most likely due to their unusual breeding system which disrupts within-group behavioural cues to kinship.

5.
Biol Lett ; 13(11)2017 Nov.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29167348

RESUMO

Among mammals, scent has long been known to encode oestrus; however, in many species, detecting pregnancy may also be important in terms of both competition and mate-choice. Here, we show, through odour presentation experiments, that pregnancy is discernible via scent by both sexes in the cooperatively breeding banded mongoose, Mungos mungo Males spent more time investigating and were more likely to scent mark the odours of non-pregnant females, compared to pregnant females. Females showed increased levels of scent marking when odours were of the same reproductive state as themselves. These results present the first direct demonstration that pregnancy is detectable via scent in wild cooperative breeders. Detecting pregnancy may be particularly important in cooperative breeders as, in addition to the competition between males for receptive mates, there is also intense competition between females for access to alloparental care. Consequently, dominant females benefit from targeting reproductive suppression towards subordinates that represent direct threats, such as pregnant females.


Assuntos
Cruzamento , Herpestidae/fisiologia , Odorantes , Percepção Olfatória/fisiologia , Reprodução , Comportamento Sexual Animal , Animais , Dominação-Subordinação , Feminino , Masculino , Grupo Associado , Gravidez , Uganda
6.
Proc Biol Sci ; 284(1865)2017 Oct 25.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29070720

RESUMO

An individual's ecological environment affects their mortality risk, which in turn has fundamental consequences for life-history evolution. In many species, social relationships are likely to be an important component of an individual's environment, and therefore their mortality risk. Here, we examine the relationship between social position and mortality risk in resident killer whales (Orcinus orca) using over three decades of social and demographic data. We find that the social position of male, but not female, killer whales in their social unit predicts their mortality risk. More socially integrated males have a significantly lower risk of mortality than socially peripheral males, particularly in years of low prey abundance, suggesting that social position mediates access to resources. Male killer whales are larger and require more resources than females, increasing their vulnerability to starvation in years of low salmon abundance. More socially integrated males are likely to have better access to social information and food-sharing opportunities which may enhance their survival in years of low salmon abundance. Our results show that observable variation in the social environment is linked to variation in mortality risk, and highlight how sex differences in social effects on survival may be linked to sex differences in life-history evolution.


Assuntos
Mortalidade , Predomínio Social , Orca/fisiologia , Animais , Colúmbia Britânica , Feminino , Masculino , Dinâmica Populacional , Risco , Fatores Sexuais , Washington
7.
Biol Lett ; 11(10)2015 Oct.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-26510673

RESUMO

Dominant females in social species have been hypothesized to reduce the reproductive success of their subordinates by inducing elevated circulating glucocorticoid (GC) concentrations. However, this 'stress-related suppression' hypothesis has received little support in cooperatively breeding species, despite evident reproductive skews among females. We tested this hypothesis in the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), a cooperative mammal in which multiple females conceive and carry to term in each communal breeding attempt. As predicted, lower ranked females had lower reproductive success, even among females that carried to term. While there were no rank-related differences in faecal glucocorticoid (fGC) concentrations prior to gestation or in the first trimester, lower ranked females had significantly higher fGC concentrations than higher ranked females in the second and third trimesters. Finally, females with higher fGC concentrations during the third trimester lost a greater proportion of their gestated young prior to their emergence from the burrow. Together, our results are consistent with a role for rank-related maternal stress in generating reproductive skew among females in this cooperative breeder. While studies of reproductive skew frequently consider the possibility that rank-related stress reduces the conception rates of subordinates, our findings highlight the possibility of detrimental effects on reproductive outcomes even after pregnancies have become established.


Assuntos
Glucocorticoides/análise , Herpestidae/fisiologia , Prenhez/metabolismo , Animais , Dominação-Subordinação , Fezes/química , Feminino , Gravidez , Estresse Fisiológico , Uganda
8.
Biol Lett ; 10(12): 20140898, 2014 Dec.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25540153

RESUMO

As breeding between relatives often results in inbreeding depression, inbreeding avoidance is widespread in the animal kingdom. However, inbreeding avoidance may entail fitness costs. For example, dispersal away from relatives may reduce survival. How these conflicting selection pressures are resolved is challenging to investigate, but theoretical models predict that inbreeding should occur frequently in some systems. Despite this, few studies have found evidence of regular incest in mammals, even in social species where relatives are spatio-temporally clustered and opportunities for inbreeding frequently arise. We used genetic parentage assignments together with relatedness data to quantify inbreeding rates in a wild population of banded mongooses, a cooperatively breeding carnivore. We show that females regularly conceive to close relatives, including fathers and brothers. We suggest that the costs of inbreeding avoidance may sometimes outweigh the benefits, even in cooperatively breeding species where strong within-group incest avoidance is considered to be the norm.


Assuntos
Mamíferos/fisiologia , Comportamento Sexual Animal , Animais , Feminino , Masculino , Dados de Sequência Molecular
9.
Nat Commun ; 5: 4499, 2014 Jul 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-25047446

RESUMO

In many animal societies, a small proportion of dominant females monopolize reproduction by actively suppressing subordinates. Theory assumes that this is because subordinate reproduction depresses the fitness of dominants, yet the effect of subordinate reproduction on dominant behaviour and reproductive success has never been directly assessed. Here, we describe the consequences of experimentally preventing subordinate breeding in 12 groups of wild meerkats (Suricata suricatta) for three breeding attempts, using contraceptive injections. When subordinates are prevented from breeding, dominants are less aggressive towards subordinates and evict them less often, leading to a higher ratio of helpers to dependent pups, and increased provisioning of the dominant's pups by subordinate females. When subordinate breeding is suppressed, dominants also show improved foraging efficiency, gain more weight during pregnancy and produce heavier pups, which grow faster. These results confirm the benefits of suppression to dominants, and help explain the evolution of singular breeding in vertebrate societies.


Assuntos
Herpestidae/fisiologia , Reprodução , Comportamento Sexual Animal , Agressão , Animais , Animais Recém-Nascidos/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Evolução Biológica , Peso Corporal , Feminino , Masculino , Gravidez
10.
Proc Biol Sci ; 279(1728): 619-24, 2012 Feb 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-21752819

RESUMO

Social species show considerable variation in the extent to which dominant females suppress subordinate reproduction. Much of this variation may be influenced by the cost of active suppression to dominants, who may be selected to balance the need to maximize the resources available for their own offspring against the costs of interfering with subordinate reproduction. To date, the cost of reproductive suppression has received little attention, despite its potential to influence the outcome of conflict over the distribution of reproduction in social species. Here, we investigate possible costs of reproductive suppression in banded mongooses, where dominant females evict subordinates from their groups, thereby inducing subordinate abortion. We show that evicting subordinate females is associated with substantial costs to dominant females: pups born to females who evicted subordinates while pregnant were lighter than those born after undisturbed gestations; pups whose dependent period was disrupted by an eviction attained a lower weight at independence; and the proportion of a litter that survived to independence was reduced if there was an eviction during the dependent period. To our knowledge, this is the first empirical study indicating a possible cost to dominants in attempting to suppress subordinate breeding, and we argue that much of the variation in reproductive skew both within and between social species may be influenced by adaptive variation in the effort invested in suppression by dominants.


Assuntos
Agressão , Herpestidae/fisiologia , Reprodução , Animais , Dominação-Subordinação , Feminino , Herpestidae/crescimento & desenvolvimento , Masculino , Gravidez , Estresse Fisiológico , Uganda
11.
Biol Lett ; 7(1): 54-6, 2011 Feb 23.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-20685697

RESUMO

Reproductive events in animal societies often show a high degree of temporal clustering, but the evolutionary causes of this synchronization are poorly understood. Here, we suggest that selection to avoid the negative effects of competition with other females has given rise to a remarkable degree of birth synchrony in the communal-breeding banded mongoose (Mungos mungo). Within banded mongoose groups, births are highly synchronous, with 64 per cent of females giving birth on exactly the same night. Our results indicate that this extreme synchrony arises because offspring suffer an increased risk of infanticide if their mother gives birth before other females, but suffer in competition with older littermates if their mother gives birth after them. These findings highlight the important influence that reproductive competition can have for the evolution of reproductive synchrony.


Assuntos
Evolução Biológica , Parto , Animais , Feminino , Gravidez , Seleção Genética , Comportamento Social , Fatores de Tempo
12.
Proc Biol Sci ; 273(1604): 2977-84, 2006 Dec 07.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-17015353

RESUMO

Animals that live in cooperative societies form hierarchies in which dominant individuals reap disproportionate benefits from group cooperation. The stability of these societies requires subordinates to accept their inferior status rather than engage in escalated conflict with dominants over rank. Applying the logic of animal contests to these cases predicts that escalated conflict is more likely where subordinates are reproductively suppressed, where group productivity is high, relatedness is low, and where subordinates are relatively strong. We tested these four predictions in the field on co-foundress associations of the paper wasp Polistes dominulus by inducing contests over dominance rank experimentally. Subordinates with lower levels of ovarian development, and those in larger, more productive groups, were more likely to escalate in conflict with their dominant, as predicted. Neither genetic relatedness nor relative body size had significant effects on the probability of escalation. The original dominant emerged as the winner in all except one escalated contest. The results provide the first evidence that reproductive suppression of subordinates increases the threat of escalated conflict, and hence that reproductive sharing can promote stability of the dominant-subordinate relationship.


Assuntos
Comportamento Animal/fisiologia , Predomínio Social , Vespas/fisiologia , Agressão/fisiologia , Animais , Tamanho Corporal , Comportamento Cooperativo , Feminino , Comportamento de Ajuda , Masculino , Modelos Biológicos
14.
Proc Biol Sci ; 268(1479): 1959-64, 2001 Sep 22.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-11564355

RESUMO

Little attention has been paid to a conspicuous and universal feature of animal societies: the variation between individuals in helping effort. Here, we develop a multiplayer kin-selection model that assumes that subordinates face a trade-off because current investment in help reduces their own future reproductive success. The model makes two predictions: (i) subordinates will work less hard the closer they are to inheriting breeding status; and (ii) for a given dominance rank, subordinates will work less hard in larger groups. The second prediction reflects the larger pay-off from inheriting a larger group. Both predictions were tested through a field experiment on the paper wasp Polistes dominulus. First, we measured an index of helping effort among subordinates, then we removed successive dominants to reveal the inheritance ranks of the subordinates: their positions in the queue to inherit dominance. We found that both inheritance rank and group size had significant effects on helping effort, in the manner predicted by our model. The close match between our theoretical and empirical results suggests that individuals adjust their helping effort according to their expected future reproductive success. This relationship has probably remained hidden in previous studies that have focused on variation in genetic relatedness.


Assuntos
Adaptação Fisiológica , Comportamento Cooperativo , Comportamento de Ajuda , Vespas , Animais , Modelos Biológicos
15.
Am Nat ; 153(3): 315-331, 1999 Mar.
Artigo em Inglês | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-29585975

RESUMO

Cooperative societies vary in the extent to which reproduction is skewed toward one or a few socially dominant animals. Many recent models attempt to explain this variation on the basis that a dominant who benefits from the presence of subordinates may offer them incentives, in the form of reproductive opportunities, to remain in the group. While most societies contain multiple members, however, these models have considered only the relationship between a dominant and a single subordinate or have assumed that all subordinates are identical. We develop an incentive-based evolutionary stable strategy model of reproductive skew in three-member groups, in which subordinates may vary in their opportunities for independent reproduction, their contribution to group productivity, and in their relatedness both to the dominant and to one another. Our model demonstrates that the conclusions of two-member models cannot all be generalized to larger groups. For example, relatedness among group members can influence whether or not the dominant does best to offer staying incentives to subordinates in a three-member, but not a two-member, group. Both the degree of skew and group stability depend on the relatedness between subordinates as well as on the relatedness of each to the dominant, and the incentives that each individual subordinate receives are influenced by the traits of the other. Whether such effects increase or decrease skew and group stability depends crucially on whether a third group member increases group productivity to a greater or lesser extent than the first.

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