Aspects of sexual dimorphism, reproduction, postnatal development, and seasonality of breeding in a solitary bathyergid rodent, the silvery mole-rat (Heliophobius argenteocinereus), as based on a field study in Malawi and on a study of animals kept in a laboratory, are reported here for the 1st time. Sex ratio in all animals (n = 173) did not differ from equality. Wild-captured males were heavier (190 ± 58 g) than females (162 ± 47 g). Mating took place during the cold and dry season (April–July), and births occurred during the hot and dry season (August–October). Mean gestation length was 95 ± 8.5 days, and mean litter size was 3.2 ± 0.9. The altricial neonates weighed 12.8 ± 2.3 g and opened their eyes about 14 days after birth. Postnatal growth rate was slow with a mean growth constant of 0.01 and a mean maximum growth rate of 0.53 g/day. The reproductive biology of H. argenteocinereus reveals characteristics of both social and solitary bathyergids. Thus, parameters believed so far to be typical of social mole-rats, such as long pregnancy and slow postnatal development, can be found in solitary silvery mole-rats as well, calling for a reevaluation of the role of reproductive biology in shaping social life.
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.