Infanticide in Prairie Dogs: Lactating Females Kill Offspring of Close Kin

  title={Infanticide in Prairie Dogs: Lactating Females Kill Offspring of Close Kin},
  author={John L. Hoogland},
  pages={1037 - 1040}
  • J. Hoogland
  • Published 29 November 1985
  • Environmental Science
  • Science
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 partial demise of 51 percent of all litters born. The most common killers are resident lactating females. The most common victims are the… 

Communal nursing in prairie dogs

Both indirect selection and reduced predation on juveniles resulting from the formation of multilitter groupings have probably been important in the evolution of communal nursing within a natural population of blacktailed prairie dogs.

Sexually Selected Infanticide in a Polygynous Bat

The finding that an adult male repeatedly attacked and injured the pups of two females belonging to his harem, ultimately causing the death of one pup, indicates that sexually selected infanticide is more widespread than previously thought, adding bats as a new taxon performing this strategy.

Infanticide and maternal defence in the wood mouse Apodemus sylvaticus.

Adult wood mice were tested in cages for their responses to single newborn pups and mothers of newborn litters were tested for their ability to protect litters from other adults. There was no

Infanticide among golden marmots (Marmota caudata aurea)

Results are consistent with the hypothesis that males may kill unrelated pups to avoid providing care to unrelated young even though killed pups include potential future mates, and show adult females who lost their entire litters to presumed infanticide were not more likely to breed in subsequent years.

Intraspecific killing of preweaned young in the Columbian ground squirrel, Spermophilus columbianus

The abandonment of Columbian ground squirrel neonates by their dams when dams and litters were released from field enclosures resulted in the availability of newborn pups aboveground to male and female conspecifics, and perpetrators of infanticide were female, although male conspecies had equal access to pups.

The evolution of infanticide by females in mammals

The findings suggest that the potential direct fitness rewards of gaining access to reproductive resources have a stronger influence on the expression of female aggression than the indirect fitness costs of competing against kin.

The evolution of infanticide: genetic benefits of extreme nepotism and spite

Examination of possible genetic benefits of infanticide by adult females using models of inclusive fitness and coancestry in ground-dwelling squirrels suggests that a balance should occur within populations between marauding and protection of young.

Why do female Gunnison's prairie dogs copulate with more than one male?

A 7-year study of marked individuals provides an answer for 239 female Gunnison's prairie dogs (Sciuridae: Cynomys gunnisoni) living under natural conditions, finding the probability of pregnancy and parturition was 92% for females that copulated with only one or two males, but was 100% for Females that copulate with at least three males.

Nutrition, care, and behavior of captive prairie dogs.




Prairie Dogs Avoid Extreme Inbreeding

Black-tailed prairie dogs (Rodentia) live in colonies composed of contiguous but separate family groups called coteries, and during the 6 years that individuals in a colony were observed, they almost nevermated with close genetic relatives.

Analysis of the Mating System in the Black-Tailed Prairie Dog (Cynomys ludovicianus) by Likelihood of Paternity

Results indicate that coteries, originally defined as units of social structure, are also units of reproduction.

Aggression, ectoparasitism, and other possible costs of prairie dog (Sciuridae, Cynomys spp.) coloniality.

It is concluded that there are probably several costs associated with prairie dog coloniality, that the severity of some of the costs correlates positively with colony or ward size for both White-tails and Black-tails, and that some ofThe costs are probably more pronounced for Black-tail than for White-tail.

Demographic Differences Between an Old and a New Colony of Black-tailed Prairie Dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus)

Two colonies of black-tailed prairie dogs in Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, were compared during 1979 and 1980 to investigate the effects of the age of the population and the availability of resources on specific demographic parameters.