Journal of Ethology

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 143–146

Do female degus communally nest and nurse their pups?

  • Luis A. Ebensperger
  • Claudio Veloso
  • Petra K. Wallem
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s10164-002-0063-x

Cite this article as:
Ebensperger, L.A., Veloso, C. & Wallem, P.K. J Ethol (2002) 20: 143. doi:10.1007/s10164-002-0063-x

Abstract.

We examined the nesting and nursing behavior of females of the caviomorph rodent Octodon degus. We recorded the behavior of two, three-female groups of lactating degus kept in captivity and compared it with that of singly housed lactating females. Grouped females spontaneously nested communally. Five of six lactating females had non-offspring pups hanging from their teats, which suggests that some non-offspring nursing took place. Non-mothers increased their maternal behavior after the delivery of their own pups. Although time allocated to parental care by each communally nesting dam did not differ from that of solitary lactating females, young of communal litters spent less time alone and enjoyed more time cared for by a lactating female than young of single dams.

Octodon degus Hystricognath rodent Communal nesting Communal nursing

Copyright information

© Jpn Ethol Soc and Springer-Verlag 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luis A. Ebensperger
    • 1
  • Claudio Veloso
    • 1
  • Petra K. Wallem
    • 1
  1. 1.Centro de Estudios Avanzados en Ecología & Biodiversidad, Departamento de Ecología, P. Universidad Católica de Chile, Casilla 114-D, Santiago, Chile