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In many social sciurids, male territoriality confers significant mating advantages. We evaluated resident male paternity in Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni), a colonial ground-dwelling sciurid, where males and females cooperatively defend territories. Contrary to findings reported for other social sciurids, our results show that territorial resident males do not gain significant reproductive advantages. Resident males sired the majority of offspring from their respective territories only 10.5% of the time. A single non-resident male sired equal or greater number of offspring than any single resident male 71.2% of the time. While adult males were more likely to sire a greater number of offspring, standard...
Gunnison's prairie dogs (Cynomys gunnisoni) are social North American ground squirrels whose social system has been shown to vary with food resource distributions, as predicted by the habitat variability-mating system model. We expanded this model to include the effects of variations in population densities, in addition to resource distributions, on both the social system and the individual mating strategies of Gunnison's prairie dogs. Specifically, we predicted that monogamy would be associated with uniform resources, regardless of population density, giving way to polygyny with increasing resource patchiness at intermediate densities, and to multiple males and females at high population densities. In addition,...