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Mammalian Biology

, Volume 73, Issue 6, pp 430–437 | Cite as

Reproduction and postnatal development of the bushveld gerbil Gerbilliscus (formerly Tatera) leucogaster

  • Tracy K. LötterEmail author
  • Neville Pillay
Original Investigation

Abstract

The reproduction and postnatal development of the bushveld gerbil Gerbilliscus (formerly Tatera) leucogaster was studied in the laboratory. Nineteen pairs produced 23 litters. Mean litter size was 3.5 and gestation was 21–22 days. Neonates weighed 3.7 g on average and were altricial. Development was slow, with eyes usually opening 16–18 days after birth, and weaning occurring by about 24 days of age. The earliest age of sexual maturity was 6.6 weeks in females and 9.9 weeks in males. A comparison with other studies of G. leucogaster, and with closely and distantly related similar-sized murid rodents, indicates that reproduction generally varies with geographic location, and that the slow postnatal development of G. leucogaster appears to be phylogenetically constrained.

Keywords

Gerbilliscus leucogaster Life history Ontogeny Behaviour Phylogeny 

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Copyright information

© Deutsche Gesellschaft für Säugetierkunde 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

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