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African Mole-Rats Ecology and Eusociality

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ISBN-10: 052101865X

ISBN-13: 9780521018654

Edition: 2005

Authors: Nigel C. Bennett, Chris G. Faulkes, Jennifer Jarvis

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African mole-rats are a unique taxon of subterranean rodents that range in sociality from solitary-dwelling species to two "eusocial" species, the Damaraland mole-rat and the naked mole-rat. The naked mole-rat is arguably the closest that a mammal comes to behaving like social insects such as bees and termites, with large colonies and a behavioral and reproductive division of labor. As a family, the Bathyergidae represent a model system with which to study the evolution and maintenance of highly social cooperative breeding strategies. In this book, Nigel Bennett and Chris Faulkes provide a synthesis of the current knowledge of bathyergid systematics, ecology, reproductive biology, behavior,…    
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Book details

Copyright year: 2005
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 8/22/2005
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 288
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.75" tall
Weight: 0.880
Language: English

Introduction to the Bathyergidae
Background and historical perspectives
The family and its systematics
Phylogenetic relationships within the family
Phylogeographic relationships
The subterranean niche
Burrow architecture
Physical and sensory adaptations to life underground
Physiological adaptations to the subterranean niche
Activity patterns in African mole-rats
Behavioural adaptations to a subterranean lifestyle
Energetics and the effects of soil hardness on burrowing behaviour
The food resource of African mole-rats
The diet and its nutritional content
The distribution of geophytes
Foraging methods and optimality theory
Foraging in the wild
The food store
Ecological consequences of burrowing by mole-rats
Mole-rat geophyte co-adaptation
The risks of foraging for geophytes
Social organisation in African mole-rats
Solitary or social?
Colony size
Size distribution and colony biomass
Capture order within colonies
Reproductive division of labour
Overlap of generations and litters
Cooperative care of the young
Behavioural division of labour
Dominance and hierarchies in social mole-rats
Some concluding remarks
Life history patterns and reproductive biology
Environmental influences on reproduction
Courtship, mating and ovulation
Gestation and parturition
Sex ratios
Pup development and growth
Longevity of breeding and lifetime reproductive success
Social suppression of reproduction in African mole-rats
An overview of reproductive suppression in mole-rats and other mammals
Suppression of reproduction in male naked and Damaraland mole-rats
Suppression of reproduction in female naked and Damaraland mole-rats
Reproductive suppression in other species of bathyergid mole-rats
Proximate cues and reproductive suppression in mole-rats: a reproductive dictatorship
Marmosets, mongooses and meerkats
The adaptive significance of reproductive suppression: theories of optimal reproductive skew
Some concluding comments
The genetic structure of mole-rat populations
Genetic relationships in subterranean mammals and cooperative breeders
Micro- and macro-geographic genetic structuring of naked mole-rat colonies
Intra-specific genetic studies of other bathyergids
The evolution of sociality in African mole-rats
What is a eusocial mammal?
The evolutionary routes to sociality
Theories of social evolution
Evolution of sociality in the Bathyergidae
Ecological constraints and social evolution in the Bathyergidae: comparative analysis
Eusociality: vertebrates versus invertebrates