Document Detail

Cooperative begging in banded mongoose pups.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  17412587     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Vivid begging displays are common in species with parental care [1, 2]. They are usually seen as the way that rival offspring selfishly compete over parental investment [3], and individuals are expected to respond to the begging of rivals by increasing their own begging intensity [4, 5]. Here I show the opposite - that potential rivals gain direct benefits from begging by littermates, so that begging behavior becomes a collective enterprise, similar to other cooperative activities. I investigate begging in communally breeding banded mongooses (Mungos mungo), where each pup forms an exclusive relationship with a single helper (its "escort"), minimizing competition over food allocation. Escorts were influenced by the total signal emanating from a litter, so that pups who begged at low rates received more food as litter size increased. Focal pups increased their begging when litters were experimentally reduced or littermates were induced to beg at low rates, but they received food at similar rates and showed reduced weight gain - indicating that they were paying a higher cost for a similar reward. These results suggest that offspring can benefit from companions despite conflicts over the allocation of parental investment [6, 7]. Such benefits provide an explanation for observed variation in the expression of parent-offspring conflict.
Matthew B V Bell
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2007-04-05
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  17     ISSN:  0960-9822     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2007 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2007-04-17     Completed Date:  2007-10-03     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  717-21     Citation Subset:  IM    
Large Animal Research Group, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EJ, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Animal Communication
Behavior, Animal*
Cooperative Behavior*
Feeding Behavior*
Litter Size
Sibling Relations
Comment In:
Curr Biol. 2007 Apr 17;17(8):R276-7   [PMID:  17437702 ]

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