Oecologia

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 36–49 | Cite as

Sociality as a life-history tactic of ground squirrels

  • Kenneth B. Armitage
Article

Summary

Multi-variate analysis of life-history traits of 18 species of burrowing sciurids indicates that reproductive effort is determined by body-size energetics. Other traits, such as age adult weight reached, age of dispersal, length of time of gestation, were significantly correlated with body size. A principal component analysis suggested that the complex of life-history traits could be reduced to four components: body size (=weight), seasonality, specific reproductive effort, and maturity. The variation in the sociality index was best explained by age of first reproduction and age adult weight reached. Generally, species are more social when large body size combined with a relatively short growing season is associated with delayed dispersal and occurs in those species typically breeding for the first time at age two or older. Sociality in these species may have evolved through retention of daughters within the maternal home range as a means of continuing reproductive investment beyond weaning.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kenneth B. Armitage
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesThe University of KansasLawrenceUSA

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