Document Detail

Littermate presence enhances motor development, weight gain and competitive ability in newborn and juvenile domestic rabbits.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20730789     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Process    
Interest has been growing in the influence siblings may have on individual development. While mammalian research has tended to emphasize competition among siblings for essential but often limited resources such as the mother's milk, there is also evidence of mutual benefits to be had from sibling presence, most notably for altricial young in enhanced thermoregulatory efficiency. In the present study we asked whether littermates of an altricial mammal, the domestic rabbit, might gain other developmental benefits from sibling presence. From postnatal days 1 to 25 we raised rabbit pups either together with their littermates or alone except for the brief, once daily nursing characteristic of this species, while controlling for litter size and ambient nest box temperature. At weaning on Day 25 the young were then transferred to individual cages. Before weaning, we found that pups raised separately from their littermates obtained less milk, and showed lower weight gain and slower development of the ability to maintain body equilibrium than their litter-raised sibs. This was the case even though the two groups did not differ in birth weight or in the ratio of converting milk into body mass in their temperature-controlled nest boxes. Postweaning, the isolation-raised animals were also less successful in competing for food and water when tested after deprivation than their litter-raised sibs. The present study adds to the growing evidence of the influence, in this case positive, that sibs (or half sibs) may have in shaping one another's development.
Leticia Nicolás; Margarita Martínez-Gómez; Robyn Hudson; Amando Bautista
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Developmental psychobiology     Volume:  53     ISSN:  1098-2302     ISO Abbreviation:  Dev Psychobiol     Publication Date:  2011 Jan 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-12-17     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0164074     Medline TA:  Dev Psychobiol     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  37-46     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Centro Tlaxcala de Biología de la Conducta, Universidad Autónoma de Tlaxcala, Tlaxcala, Mexico.
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