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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,...
The management of canid populations has been at the forefront of wildlife management worldwide for much of the last century. Effective management depends on the ability to integrate species biology, the environmental aspects upon which those populations depend, and the factors controlling species abundance. Further, managing canid populations requires consideration of territoriality and dominance, which may have a significant effect on population dynamics. To better understand the effect of social structure on canid populations, we developed an individual-based computer model using Swarm to mimic natural coyote population dynamics. We selected the Swarm simulation environment because it is ideally suited for creating...
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....