A pigheaded compromise: do competition and predation explain variation in warthog group size?

The reproductive payoff to an individual for participating in a group will often be affected by the size of the group. Competition for resources and predation pressure are 2 primary factors that influence sociality and group size in a variety of species. In this correlative study, I investigated how resource competition and predation influenced group […]

The social integration of European badger (Meles meles) cubs into their natal group

Three main reasons have been suggested to explain the evolution of stable social groups in mammals: cooperation, resource dispersion, and natal philopatry. Here, we investigate the driving forces behind the social integration of badger Meles meles cubs into their natal group as a model for those species, where group-living has been attributed to ecological constraints. […]

Differences in social behaviour between group-living and solitary African striped mice, Rhabdomys pumilio

Little is known about the extent to which solitary individuals differ in their social behaviour from group-living ones within the same species. Using the socially flexible African striped mouse, we tested through a series of dyadic encounters in a neutral arena whether group-living mice that later became solitary differed from their philopatric conspecifics. We compared […]

Linking social foraging behaviour with individual time budgets and emergent group-level phenomena

A social group’s time budget is an emergent property of individual-level decisions about how to allocate time. One fundamental determinant of these time allocation decisions is foraging success. Yet while there is a growing appreciation of how social animals optimize their foraging behaviour, our understanding of the mechanisms that link this behaviour with individual time […]

Ontogeny and symmetry of social partner choice among free-living yellow-bellied marmots

Affiliative interactions have important fitness consequences for individuals. Yet, precisely how social roles emerge across ontogeny outside of the context of agonistic interactions is largely unknown, particularly in free-living species of nonprimates. Here we used longitudinal data on yellow-bellied marmots, Marmota flaviventris, residing around the Rocky Mountain Biology Laboratory in Colorado, U.S.A., to investigate the […]

Consistent social structure and optimal clique size revealed by social network analysis of feral goats, Capra hircus

Social network analysis has become a valuable tool for the measurement of social bonds and can give insight into the level of social complexity in a species. However, most studies have focused on a single social group or community, and we have a rather limited understanding of the extent to which a species’ network structure […]

The influence of siblings on body condition in a social spider: is prey sharing cooperation or competition?

Siblings living together compete with each other for resources, yet they may also cooperate to maximize their inclusive fitness. In social spiders, siblings share prey and may both compete and cooperate to obtain this resource. In the laboratory, the social huntsman spider, Delena cancerides, readily shares prey captured by other colony members; however, these spiders […]

Smells familiar: group-joining decisions of predatory mites are mediated by olfactory cues of social familiarity

Group-living animals frequently have to trade off the costs and benefits of leaving an established group and joining another group. Owing to their high fitness relevance, group-joining decisions are commonly nonrandom and may be based on traits of both individual members and the group such as life stage, body size, social status and group density […]

Strongly bonded family members in common marmosets show synchronized fluctuations in oxytocin

Oxytocin is a key regulator of social bonding and is positively linked to affiliation and prosocial behavior in several mammal species. In chimpanzees, this link is dyad-specific as affiliative interactions only elicit high oxytocin release if they involve strongly bonded individuals. These studies involved isolated dyads and sampling events. Little is known about the role […]

Drivers and consequences of variation in individual social connectivity

There is a growing interest in identifying specific causes and consequences of variation in individual social behaviour as a means of understanding how different individuals balance the costs and benefits of group living. In this study, we used social networks to examine variation in individual social behaviour in wild Grant’s gazelles, Nanger granti, and explored […]