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25 November 2015 Octodon degus kin and social structure
Garrett T. Davis, Rodrigo A. Vásquez, Elie Poulin, Esteban Oda, Enrique A. Bazán-León, Luis A. Ebensperger, Loren D. Hayes
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Abstract

A growing body of evidence showing that individuals of some social species live in non-kin groups suggests kin selection is not required in all species for sociality to evolve. Here, we investigate 2 populations of Octodon degus, a widespread South American rodent that has been shown to form kin and non-kin groups. We quantified genetic relatedness among individuals in 23 social groups across 2 populations as well as social network parameters (association, strength, and clustering coefficient) in order to determine if these aspects of sociality were driven by kinship. Additionally, we analyzed social network parameters relative to ecological conditions at burrow systems used by groups, to determine if ecological characteristics within each population could explain variation in sociality. We found that genetic relatedness among individuals within social groups was not significantly higher than genetic relatedness among randomly selected individuals in both populations, suggesting that non-kin structure of groups is common in degus. In both populations, we found significant relationships between the habitat characteristics of burrow systems and the social network characteristics of individuals inhabiting those burrow systems. Our results suggest that degu sociality is non-kin based and that degu social networks are influenced by local conditions.

© 2015 American Society of Mammalogists, www.mammalogy.org
Garrett T. Davis, Rodrigo A. Vásquez, Elie Poulin, Esteban Oda, Enrique A. Bazán-León, Luis A. Ebensperger, and Loren D. Hayes "Octodon degus kin and social structure," Journal of Mammalogy 97(2), 361-372, (25 November 2015). https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyv182
Received: 11 March 2015; Accepted: 30 October 2015; Published: 25 November 2015
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