Luis A. Ebensperger

Learn More
Communal nesting is a fundamental component of many animal societies. Because the fitness consequences of this behavior vary with the relatedness among nest mates, understanding the kin structure of communally nesting groups is critical to understanding why such groups form. Observations of captive degus (Octodon degus) indicate that multiple females nest(More)
I analyze and summarize the empirical evidence supporting alternative hypotheses posed to explain the evolution of rodent group-living. Eight hypotheses are considered: two rely on net fitness benefits to individuals, five rely on ecological and life-history constraints, and one uses elements of both. I expose the logic behind each hypothesis, identify its(More)
Studying the causes and reproductive consequences of social variation can provide insight into the evolutionary basis of sociality. Individuals are expected to behave adaptively to maximize reproductive success, but reproductive outcomes can also depend on group structure. Degus (Octodon degus) are plurally breeding rodents, in which females allonurse(More)
1. Understanding how variation in fitness relates to variation in group living remains critical to determine whether this major aspect of social behaviour is currently adaptive. 2. Available evidence in social mammals aimed to examine this issue remains controversial. Studies show positive (i.e. potentially adaptive), neutral or even negative fitness(More)
In social or group living species, members of groups are expected to be affected differentially by competition through the effect of group size (i.e., the “social competition hypothesis”). This hypothesis predicts an increase in the probability of dispersal with increasing size of social groups. At a more mechanistic level and based on the known effects of(More)
Intraspecific variation in sociality is thought to reflect a trade-off between current fitness benefits and costs that emerge from individuals' decision to join or leave groups. Since those benefits and costs may be influenced by ecological conditions, ecological variation remains a major, ultimate cause of intraspecific variation in sociality.(More)
Lactation is the most energetically demanding period in the life cycle of female mammals, and its effects on digestive flexibility and the size of internal organs have been extensively studied in laboratory mice and rats since the early 1900s. However, there have been only two studies on this topic for wild rodent species. Here, we analyzed digestive(More)
We examined the hypothesis that a main benefit of group-living in the semifossorial rodent, Octodon degus (Rodentia: Octodontidae), is to decrease individual cost of burrow construction. We contrasted the digging behavior of groups of three same-sex, adult-sized individuals with that of solitary degus. The behavior of singles and trios was recorded inside a(More)
Subterranean mammals show lower than-allometrically expected-basal metabolic rates (BMR), and several competing hypotheses were suggested to explain how physical microenvironmental conditions and underground life affect subterranean mammalian energetics. Two of these are the thermal-stress and the cost-of-burrowing hypotheses. The thermal-stress hypothesis(More)
The importance of predation and burrow digging in explaining the evolution of sociality is generally unclear. We focused on New World hystricognath rodents to evaluate three key predictions of the predation hypothesis. First, large-bodied surface-dwelling species will be more vulnerable because they are more detectable; thus sociality should be associated(More)