Play Behavior in Crocodilians

Play behavior in crocodilians is not uncommon, but it remains virtually undescribed in scientific literature. I present the first overview of play behavior of three types (locomotor play, object play and social play) in crocodilians based on original observations, published reports and anecdotal evidence. Object play is the type most often reported; social play can […]

Oxytocin modulates mate-guarding behavior in marmoset monkeys

In socially-monogamous species, intolerance of interactions between a pairmate and a sexual rival (i.e., mate-guarding) promotes the preservation of long-lasting partnerships. One promising neurobiological candidate for the regulation of mate-guarding behavior in monogamous primates is the oxytocin (OT) system, given its established role in both the development of monogamous bonds and the behavioral processes that […]

Differences in novel food response between Pongo and Pan

The diversity of great ape diets requires behavioral flexibility. Consequently, the exploration of potentially novel food sources is supposedly beneficial, but simultaneously, apes show high neophobia to prevent harmful and poisonous food intake. Social information, such as presence of group members or observations of non-naïve, experienced individuals have been demonstrated to affect the acceptance of […]

Social influences on vigilance behaviour in giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis

Vigilance in ungulates is considered to have a predominantly antipredator function, with the frequency and duration of scans per individual decreasing with increasing group size. Social influences on vigilance scans have been overlooked in studies on ungulates, although studies in primates and birds show that conspecific scans are important determinants of vigilance behaviour. We investigated […]

Communal nesting is unrelated to burrow availability in the common warthog

Warthogs, Phacochoerus africanus, are an unusual ungulate. They are facultative cooperative breeders where females within the same population display both solitary and cooperative reproductive strategies. Warthogs require burrows for sleeping and rearing their young, yet they are unable to dig their own burrows and rely on aardvark excavations. Studies of warthogs have failed to show […]

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 roles of phylogeny and sociality in the evolution of social play in muroid rodents

A composite index incorporating the frequency and structure (target, type of defence, etc.) of play fighting was used to compare the complexity of such play in 13 species of muroid rodents whose behaviour has been previously described. A phylogenetic comparison of the distribution of the complexity of play fighting revealed that relatedness did not predict […]

Spatial learning and memory in African mole-rats: The role of sociality and sex

Spatial learning and memory is an important skill for the survival and fitness and may vary between the sexes depending on differences in space use. This is particularly true for animals that explore the subterranean niche as it is associated with high travelling costs. In subterranean rodents the complexity of burrow systems varies with differing […]

The effects of sex, age and commensal way of life on levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites in spiny mice (Acomys cahirinus)

We studied levels of fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (GCM) in a social rodent — Egyptian spiny mouse. As breeding adults are socially dominant over subadults, and adolescent males are driven away by the dominant males, we addressed the question whether animals within extended families are stressed differently depending upon their social category. In addition, we evaluated […]

The post-release fate of hand-reared orphaned bats: survival and habitat selection

Although bats are frequently admitted to rescue centres — mainly as orphans — very little information is available on their survival after release. Our study answered the following questions: i) do hand-reared bats survive over a short time; ii) which activities and habitat selection do they exhibit; iii) are bats loyal to the release area; […]