Cavies (family Caviidae) are a group of rodents distributed over much of South America. The high diversity of habitats inhabited by different species is paralleled by a high diversity of social organizations. Comparisons of behavioral and reproductive strategies between species can provide valuable insights into mammalian social evolution. In this review we 1st summarize the literature to give an idea of the diversity of social and mating systems within the genera Cavia, Galea, Microcavia, and Kerodon. Social systems range from solitary animals through pairs and harems to multimale–multifemale groups. Mating systems of cavies include monogamy and promiscuity and different forms of polygyny. We then review behavioral strategies of females and males that account for this social diversity. Particularly, the role of females and the potential of males to monopolize mates are examined. In some species, for example, estrous females actively solicit copulations with several males and thereby prevent their monopolization by single males. We also discuss adaptations of reproductive physiology to different mating systems. Finally, environmental factors influencing aspects of the social and mating systems of cavies are considered. Particularly, differences in resource distribution, predation risk, and climatic conditions might explain the great variation in species social organization.
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. 92 • No. 1