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Infanticide, although common in a wide range of species including humans and other primates, is poorly understood. A 7-year study under natural conditions reveals that infanticide within colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus) is striking for three reasons. It is the major source of juvenile mortality, accounting for the total or(More)
Populations are often composed of more than just randomly mating subpopulations - many organisms from social groups with distinct patterns of mating and dispersal. Such patterns have recieved much attention in behavioral ecology, yet theories of population genetics rarely take social structures into account. Consequently, population geneticists often report(More)
Considerable controversy surrounds the importance of inbreeding in natural populations. The rate of natural inbreeding and the influences of behavioral mechanisms that serve to promote or minimize inbreeding (e.g., philopatry vs. dispersal) are poorly understood. We studied inbreeding and social structuring of a population of black-tailed prairie dogs(More)
Prairie dogs are burrowing mammals that inhabit the grasslands of western North America. This article discusses the black-tailed prairie dog, the most common species and the one most likely to be found in zoos and private homes. The authors discuss several topics related to having prairie dogs as pets, such as why they make good pets, types of housing,(More)
Predation always affects demography and population dynamics, but removal of certain types of individuals is especially consequential. Predators strike quickly and commonly avoid areas with human observers, however, and thereby make it difficult to document patterns of predation under natural conditions. At a colony of marked Utah prairie dogs (Cynomys(More)
Black-tailed prairie dogs (Rodentia: Sciuridae: Cynomys ludovicianus) live in colonies composed of contiguous but separate family groups called coteries. During the 6 years that individuals in a colony were observed, they almost nevermated with close genetic relatives. Inbreeding is avoided in four ways: (i) a young male usually leaves his natal coterie(More)