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Father and son sugar glider: more than a genetic coalition?


Klettenheimer, BS and Temple-Smith, PD and Sofronidis, G, Father and son sugar glider: more than a genetic coalition?, Journal of Zoology - London, 242 pp. 741-750. ISSN 0952-8369 (1997) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.1997.tb05823.x


Co-operation between two or more individuals has been shown to yield benefits in some vertebrate species (Bygott, Bertram and Hanby, 1979; Packer and Pusey, 1982; Grinnell, Packer and Pusey, 1995), however, until now such behaviour has not been described for marsupials. In this two-and-a-half-year study co-operative behaviour among male sugar gliders (Petaurus breviceps) was revealed. A dominant relationship to females was not observed. Male sugar gliders not only showed extensive co-operative behaviour in suppressing subordinate males but in sharing food and nesting boxes as well as taking care of the offspring. DNA fingerprinting has been used to describe the genetic variability in relatedness of the coalition partners. Co-operative behaviour in male sugar gliders was exclusively observed among closely related individuals, therefore supporting the kin-selection theory in this small marsupial. We describe the genetic variability in relatedness, the behaviour and some physiological parameters of male sugar gliders in four captive groups to test the hypothesis that the sugar glider is an example of co-operative behaviour involving kin selection in marsupials.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Zoology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences
UTAS Author:Klettenheimer, BS (Miss Klettenheimer)
ID Code:11127
Year Published:1997
Web of Science® Times Cited:11
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:1997-08-01
Last Modified:2011-08-11

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