The ties that bind: Genetic relatedness predicts the fission and fusion of social groups in wild African elephants

Many social animals live in stable groups. In contrast, African savannah elephants (Loxodonta africana) live in unusually fluid, fission–fusion societies. That is, ‘core’ social groups are composed of predictable sets of individuals; however, over the course of hours or days, these groups may temporarily divide and reunite, or they may fuse with other social groups […]

Dispersed male networks in western gorillas

Although kin-selection theory has been widely used to explain the tendency of individuals to bias beneficial behaviors towards relatives living within the same social group [[1]], less attention has focused on kin-biased interactions between groups. For animal societies in which females emigrate, as is the case for mountain gorillas (Gorilla beringei beringei), encounters between males […]

Proximate factors influencing dispersal decisions in male mountain gorillas, Gorilla beringei beringei

We examined demographic and behavioural influences on the dispersal decisions of 31 male mountain gorillas living in mixed-sex groups. Approximately half (45%) of silverback males dispersed from the groups in which they matured. Mean dispersal age corresponded with the age of physical maturity. For two-thirds (64%) of males, dispersal was a one time decision. The […]

Living in nonbreeding groups: an alternative strategy for maturing gorillas

The one-male reproductive strategy implies that maturing males are temporarily excluded from reproduction. In gorillas, these excluded males live either solitarily or in nonbreeding groups (NBGs) that are devoid of adult females. The dynamics of NBGs are not well known. In this study, which was conducted on a gorilla population (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) of 377 […]

Male house mice do not adjust sperm allocation in response to odours from related or unrelated rivals

Sperm competition theory predicts that males should adjust the number of sperm they ejaculate adaptively, according to sociosexual cues of sperm competition at the time of mating. Specifically, it is predicted that (1) males will respond to an increased risk of sperm competition from rivals by increasing sperm allocation, and (2) the increase in allocation […]

Association patterns of African elephants in all-male groups: the role of age and genetic relatedness

Strong social bonds are uncommon among male mammals. In many mammals, however, males form all-male groups, providing opportunities for male-male bonds to emerge. We examined association patterns of male African elephants, Loxodonta africana, in all-male groups and assessed the influence of age and genetic relatedness on these associations. We also examined the influence of age […]

Genetic relatedness does not predict racoon social network structure

Social assortativity, preferentially associating with certain individuals, is a widespread behaviour among a diverse range of taxa. Animals often choose to associate with other individuals based on characteristics such as sex, age, body size, rank and genetic relatedness. These preferences can scale up to shape the overall social structure of an animal group or population. […]

Social preference influences female community structure in a population of wild eastern grey kangaroos

Communities, clusters of individuals who interact socially primarily with each other, are fundamental elements of social structure in many species. Community membership can be influenced by spatial factors and by social preferences resulting from genetic or phenotypic assortment or shared behavioural strategies. Very little is known about community social structure in herbivorous mammals with higher […]

Initial founders of captive populations are genetically representative of natural populations in critically endangered dusky gopher frogs, Lithobates sevosus

The rapid rate of decline in amphibian populations has urged many researchers and conservationists to establish captive, or ex situ, populations. Such populations are guarded against effects of habitat loss and degradation, and if actively managed, can serve as a reservoir for rare alleles that might be lost in the wild. Without proper management, ex […]

Using behavioral observations and genetic markers to characterize the flexible reproductive system in an ex situ population of carmine bee-eaters (Merops n. nubicus)

Combining behavioral observations with population genetic analyses in ex situ populations can be used to evaluate factors that determine the success of a breeding program. Avian species living in a colony accrue reproductive benefits by taking advantage of multiple reproductive strategies. Growing evidence suggests that both extra pair fertilizations (EPFs) and intra-specific nest parasitism (ISNP) […]