Ontogeny of playful contact in a social mongoose, the Meerkat, Suricata suricatta

Playful contact interaction within a captive family of six meerkats was observed using a rotating focal animal observation method over a 5-month period. Ten interaction patterns are described. The mother interacted playfully with her family members at a low rate while the father and young initeracted together far more than with the mother. The parents […]

No evidence for adaptive sex ratio variation in the cooperatively breeding meerkat, Suricata suricatta

Where a maternal trait influences the fitness of sons or daughters, mothers would be expected to bias the sex ratio towards the sex whose fitness they are more able to increment. In many polygynous species, maternal characteristics affect the fitness of sons more than that of daughters, but, in meerkats, variance in female reproductive success […]

Meerkat helpers increase sentinel behaviour and bipedal vigilance in the presence of pups

Helpers in cooperatively breeding species may assist in a number of cooperative activities, such as nest building, incubating, babysitting and feeding of offspring. In addition, individuals may engage in sentinel behaviour and other forms of vigilance, which benefits other group members not only by reducing the risk of predation, but also by allowing them to […]

Factors predicting the frequency, likelihood and duration of allonursing in the cooperatively breeding meerkat

Allolactation, the nursing of another female’s offspring, occurs most commonly where several females raise young simultaneously in the same nest, but also occurs in singular breeders where nonbreeders also lactate for the offspring of dominant females. In this study, we investigated the factors predicting the frequency of allonursing in meerkats, Suricata suricatta, whether or not […]