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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...
Mating system characterizations have been hindered by difficulties in accurately assigning parentage to offspring. We investigated the relationship between social assemblages and mating relationships in a territorial harem polygynous mammal, the Gunnison's prairie dog, using a combination of behavioral and molecular analyses. We demonstrate multiple paternity and an extraordinarily high incidence of extraterritorial fertilizations (i.e., 61% of all progeny), in combination with the existence of female kin groups. On this basis, we conclude that social assemblages alone provide a poor description of the Gunnison's prairie dog mating system, and suggest several potential reasons for the maintenance of territoriality...
Previous studies of Gunnison's prairie dogs, Cynomys gunnisoni, have reached different conclusions about the factors influencing sociality in this species. In this study I tested whether Gunnison's prairie dog social structure was resource-based or whether male mating strategies drive the organizational patterns observed. Group size, where the term group refers to individuals occupying the same territory, was predicted by territory size and density of food available. The spatial overlap of adults within territories was positively correlated with spatial patchiness of food resources. All group members participated in territory defense, although adult males engaged in significantly more intergroup aggressive interactions....
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Populations with small effective sizes are at risk for inbreeding depression and loss of adaptive potential. Variance in reproductive success is one of several factors reducing effective population size (Ne) below the actual population size (N). Here, we investigate the effects of polygynous (skewed) mating and variation in female breeding success on the effective size of a small population of the Gunnison sage-grouse (Centrocercus minimus), a ground nesting bird with a lek mating system. During a two-year field study, we recorded attendance of marked birds at leks, male mating success, the reproductive success of radio-tagged females, and annual survival. We developed simulations to estimate the distribution of...


    map background search result map search result map Polygyny and female breeding failure reduce effective population size in the lekking Gunnison sage-grouse Polygyny and female breeding failure reduce effective population size in the lekking Gunnison sage-grouse