Most polygynous male mammals exhibit little or no parental care or involvement raising young. Instead, they invest indirectly in their own morphological and physiological attributes which enhance their chance of reproduction. Such secondary morphological sex traits may contribute to differences in the burrow architecture of fossorial mammals, such as the Cape dune mole-rat, Bathyergus suillus. Indeed, little is known about the seasonal changes in burrow architecture or differences in burrow configuration may differ between the sexes of subterranean African mole-rats (Bathyergidae). We excavated burrow systems of male and female B. suillus during the summer and the winter to investigate whether male burrow architecture reflected putative mate-seeking behaviour. We consider burrow geometry in response to mating strategies. Male burrow systems explored the environment more efficiently than females. This is presumably because of the increase in associated energetic costs of being a large male. Males produce more mounds indicating territorial behaviour even when it is energetically costly to dispose of soil onto the surface when the soil is less friable during the summer. Overall tunnel dimensions did not differ between the sexes. It appears that a change in season does not affect the geometry of the burrow system or tunnel dimensions in a climatically buffered environment.
You have requested a machine translation of selected content from our databases. This functionality is provided solely for your convenience and is in no way intended to replace human translation. Neither BioOne nor the owners and publishers of the content make, and they explicitly disclaim, any express or implied representations or warranties of any kind, including, without limitation, representations and warranties as to the functionality of the translation feature or the accuracy or completeness of the translations.
Translations are not retained in our system. Your use of this feature and the translations is subject to all use restrictions contained in the Terms and Conditions of Use of the BioOne website.
Vol. 47 • No. 2