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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


ZENUTO, ROXANA R.; VASSALLO, ALDO I.  and  BUSCH, CRISTINA. Social and reproductive behavior of the subterranean solitary rodent Ctenomys talarum (Rodentia: Ctenomyidae) in a seminatural enclosure. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2002, vol.75, n.1, pp.165-177. ISSN 0716-078X.

The social and reproductive behavior of the subterranean rodent Ctenomys talarum (Thomas, 1898) was studied in a seminatural enclosure resembling both the complexity of the natural burrow system and the sex ratio observed in wild populations. Contrary to expectations based on their solitariness and their rather simple social system, the interactions among individuals of this species were diverse and complex. Auditory, tactile and chemical communication were of importance during territory guarding, courtship and copulatory behavior. Individuals from different populations differing in ecological attributes behaved in substantially different ways. Males from Mar de Cobo, a population characterized by a high density and a skewed sex ratio favouring females, behaved aggressively, which resulted in frequent wounding. Males from Mar de Cobo established a dominance hierarchy among them, which preceded courtship and, eventually, resulted in the dominant male monopolizing mating activity. On the contrary, males from Necochea, a population showing low density and an even sex ratio, behaved less aggressively; dominance relationships were absent, and males performed courtship behaviors in the presence of other males

Keywords : social behavior; reproduction; subterranean rodents; captivity; Ctenomys talarum.

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