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In many animal societies, dominant individuals monopolize reproduction, but the tactics they employ to achieve this are poorly understood. One possibility is that aggressive dominants render their subordinates infertile by inducing chronic physiological "stress." However, this hypothesis has been discarded largely for cooperatively breeding species, where(More)
Comparative studies of two species of mole-rat are helping to clarify the ecological correlates of mammalian eusociality. Both species live in social groups composed of close kin, within which breeding is restricted to one female and one to three males. They inhabit xeric areas with dispersed, patchy food and unpredictable rainfall. During droughts, they(More)
Mole-rats are strictly subterranean and hardly, if ever, come into contact with external light. As a result, their classical visual system is severely regressed and the circadian system proportionally expanded. The family Bathyergidae presents a unique opportunity to study the circadian system in the absence of the classical visual system in a range of(More)
Within colonies of Damaraland mole-rats (Cryptomys damarensis), anovulation in non-reproductive females is thought to play an important role in maintaining reproductive skew. Pituitary sensitivity and ovarian structure were examined in three groups of females that differed with respect to their social environment and breeding status to determine whether(More)
In most animals, the sex that invests least in its offspring competes more intensely for access to the opposite sex and shows greater development of secondary sexual characters than the sex that invests most. However, in some mammals where females are the primary care-givers, females compete more frequently or intensely with each other than males. A(More)
The Natal mole-rat, Cryptomys hottentotus natalensis, rarely, if ever, is exposed to external light cues because it occurs in completely sealed tunnel systems. As a result, their classical visual system is regressed, and therefore, their circadian system is expected proportionally to be expanded. Locomotor activity was investigated under a number of(More)
In cooperatively breeding meerkats (Suricata suricatta), individuals typically live in extended family groups in which the dominant male and female are the primary reproductives, while their offspring delay dispersal, seldom breed, and contribute to the care of subsequent litters. Here we investigate hormonal differences between dominants and subordinates(More)
The hippocampus is essential for the formation and retrieval of memories and is a crucial neural structure sub-serving complex cognition. Adult hippocampal neurogenesis, the birth, migration and integration of new neurons, is thought to contribute to hippocampal circuit plasticity to augment function. We evaluated hippocampal volume in relation to brain(More)
In animal social groups, socially subordinate individuals frequently show low reproductive success or completely fail to breed. This suppression of subordinate reproduction is currently typically attributed to control by dominant individuals. However, subordinates in cooperative groups often lack access to unrelated mates, and an alternative possibility is(More)
The distribution of orexinergic cell bodies and terminal networks within the brains of two species of African mole rat (Cape-dune mole rat--Bathyergus suillus and highveld mole rat--Cryptomys hottentotus) were identified using immunohistochemistry for orexin-A. The aim of the study was to investigate possible differences in the nuclear complement and(More)