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Cooperative Breeding


Cooperative breeding is a reproductive system in which helpers – i.e., individuals other than the parents – cooperate to raise offspring and thereby increase the immatures’ growth and survival. In obligate cooperative breeders, a breeding pair is incapable of rearing offspring without the support of helpers (i.e., alloparental care), whereas facultative cooperative breeders are also able to successfully raise offspring without alloparental care.

Synonyms and Related Notions

Allomaternal care refers to care provided by any individual other than the mother – including the father – and thus also includes biparental care. Alloparental care refers to care provided by individuals other than the parents and includes cooperative breeding and eusociality. The latter is an extreme form of cooperative breeding in which some classes of individuals forgo independent reproduction (reproductive division of labor).

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Cooperative breeding has evolved in a variety of...

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Correspondence to Francisco Edvaldo de Oliveira Terceiro .

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de Oliveira Terceiro, F.E., Burkart, J.M. (2019). Cooperative Breeding. In: Vonk, J., Shackelford, T. (eds) Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior. Springer, Cham.

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