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Banded mongooses avoid inbreeding when mating with members of the same natal group

Sanderson, JL and Wang, J and Vitikainen, EIK and Cant, MA and Nichols, HJ (2015) Banded mongooses avoid inbreeding when mating with members of the same natal group. Molecular Ecology, 24 (14). pp. 3738-3751. ISSN 1365-294X

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Abstract

Inbreeding and inbreeding avoidance are key factors in the evolution of animal societies, influencing dispersal and reproductive strategies which can affect relatedness structure and helping behaviours. In cooperative breeding systems, individuals typically avoid inbreeding through reproductive restraint and/or dispersing to breed outside their natal group. However, where groups contain multiple potential mates of varying relatedness, strategies of kin recognition and mate choice may be favoured. Here, we investigate male mate choice and female control of paternity in the banded mongoose (Mungos mungo), a cooperatively-breeding mammal where both sexes are often philopatric and mating between relatives is known to occur. We find evidence suggestive of inbreeding depression in banded mongooses, indicative of a benefit to avoiding breeding with relatives. Successfully breeding pairs were less related than expected under random mating, which appeared to be driven by both male choice and female control of paternity. Male banded mongooses actively guard females to gain access to mating opportunities, and this guarding behaviour is preferentially directed towards less closely related females. Guard-female relatedness did not affect the guard’s probability of gaining reproductive success. However, where mate-guards are unsuccessful they lose paternity to males that are less related to the females than themselves. Together our results suggest that both sexes of banded mongoose use kin discrimination to avoid inbreeding. Although this strategy appears to be rare among cooperative breeders, it may be more prominent in species where relatedness to potential mates is variable, and/or where opportunities for dispersal and mating outside of the group are limited.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Sanderson, J. L., Wang, J., Vitikainen, E. I. K., Cant, M. A. and Nichols, H. J. (2015), Banded mongooses avoid inbreeding when mating with members of the same natal group. Molecular Ecology, 24: 3738–3751, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/mec.13253. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Self-Archiving."
Uncontrolled Keywords: 06 Biological Sciences
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
S Agriculture > SF Animal culture
Divisions: Natural Sciences and Psychology
Publisher: Wiley
Date Deposited: 03 Jun 2015 11:04
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2016 23:50
DOI or Identification number: 10.1111/mec.13253
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/1351

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