Spontaneous abortion as a response to reproductive conflict in the banded mongoose

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Inzani , E , Marshall , H H , Thompson , F J , Kalema-Zikusoka , G , Cant , M A & Vitikainen , E I K 2019 , ' Spontaneous abortion as a response to reproductive conflict in the banded mongoose ' , Biology Letters , vol. 15 , no. 12 , 20190529 . https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0529

Title: Spontaneous abortion as a response to reproductive conflict in the banded mongoose
Author: Inzani, E.; Marshall, H. H.; Thompson, F. J.; Kalema-Zikusoka, G.; Cant, M. A.; Vitikainen, E. I. K.
Contributor organization: Helsinki One Health (HOH)
Evolution, Sociality & Behaviour
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Organismal and Evolutionary Biology Research Programme
Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Date: 2019-12-24
Language: eng
Number of pages: 5
Belongs to series: Biology Letters
ISSN: 1744-9561
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2019.0529
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10138/325498
Abstract: When breeding females compete for limited resources, the intensity of this reproductive conflict can determine whether the fitness benefits of current reproductive effort exceed the potential costs to survival and future fertility. In group-living species, reproductive competition can occur through post-natal competition among the offspring of co-breeding females. Spontaneous abortion could be a response to such competition, allowing females to curtail reproductive expenditure on offspring that are unlikely to survive and to conserve resources for future breeding opportunities. We tested this hypothesis using long-term data on banded mongooses, Mungos mungo, in which multiple females within a group give birth synchronously to a communal litter that is cared for by other group members. As predicted, abortions were more likely during dry periods when food is scarce, and in breeding attempts with more intense reproductive competition. Within breeding events, younger, lighter females carrying smaller fetuses were more likely to abort, particularly those that were also of lower rank. Our results suggest that abortion may be a means by which disadvantaged females conserve resources for future breeding attempts in more benign conditions, and highlight that female reproductive competition may be resolved long before the production of offspring.
Subject: banded mongoose
abortion
female reproductive competition
cooperative species
reproductive suppression
SOCIAL-CONTROL
CONSEQUENCES
SUPPRESSION
EVOLUTION
EVICTION
WEIGHT
1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
Peer reviewed: Yes
Rights: cc_by
Usage restriction: openAccess
Self-archived version: acceptedVersion


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