, Volume 50, Issue 3, pp 386-390

Life-history patterns and sociality in canids: Body size, reproduction, and behavior

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Empirical associations among co-adapted traits such as body size and patterns of reproduction, development, and behavior are unknown for most animal species, despite numerous theories suggesting otherwise. One way to study these complex relationships is first to consider closely related species and then to generalize findings to other groups. In the present study, relationships among body size, reproductive patterns, development, and sociality were examined in 17 members of the family Canidae (canids). Large canids are more social than smaller species, and offspring of large species achieve independence and tend to breed first at a later age. Large females give birth to absolutely larger young, but relative to their own body weight they allocate fewer resources to bringing a large pup to term. Overall, sexual dimorphism in size is small to moderate, and this is associated with monogamous mating habits and paternal care of young.