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Effects of helpers on juvenile development and survival in meerkats


Clutton-Brock, TH and Russell, AF and Sharpe, LL and Brotherton, PNM and McIlrath, GM and White, S and Cameron, EZ, Effects of helpers on juvenile development and survival in meerkats, Science, 293, (5539) pp. 2446-2449. ISSN 0036-8075 (2001) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright 2001. American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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DOI: doi:10.1126/science.1061274


Although breeding success is known to increase with group size in several cooperative mammals, the mechanisms underlying these relationships are un- certain. We show that in wild groups of cooperative meerkats, Suricata suricatta, reductions in the ratio of helpers to pups depress the daily weight gain and growth of pups and the daily weight gain of helpers. Increases in the daily weight gain of pups are associated with heavier weights at independence and at 1 year of age, as well as with improved foraging success as juveniles and higher survival rates through the first year of life. These results suggest that the effects of helpers on the fitness of pups extend beyond weaning and that helpers may gain direct as well as indirect benefits by feeding pups.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:breeding success, group size, cooperative mammals, meerkat, Suricata suricatta, helpers
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal developmental and reproductive biology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Other environmental management
Objective Field:Other environmental management not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Cameron, EZ (Professor Elissa Cameron)
ID Code:71267
Year Published:2001
Web of Science® Times Cited:170
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2011-07-12
Last Modified:2012-10-29
Downloads:4 View Download Statistics

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