Eusociality in African mole-rats

Perković, Katarina (2015) Eusociality in African mole-rats. Bachelor's thesis, Faculty of Science > Department of Biology.

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Abstract

Researchers have come a long way in understanding the social evolution in African mole-rats since they were first discovered more than 220 years ago, and today we know there is a connection between habitats and variations of social systems within the Bathyergidae family; solitary types occur in mesic regions with uniformly distributed food whereas social types occur in xeric regions. Social mole-rats, with the exception of the naked mole-rat, are obligatory outbreeders, and on the example of the Damarland mole-rat, we can see that given the right ecological conditions, non-breeding colony members will disperse. In the case of naked mole-rats, their eusociality was long contributed to high relatedness values within their colonies, however recent studies wielded results that go against that theory. Some studies attributed evolution of sociality to ancestral social systems, but they didn’t offer an explanation for the diversity of social systems in present Bathyergidae. One of the theories that explains why some mole-rats are social and some are not is Aridity-Food-Dispersal hypothesis, but there are many other factors to be taken into consideration. And finally, progress was also achieved in researching the evolution of eusociality in the naked mole-rat and Damaraland mole-rat. However, the question arises whether we can describe any mammal as eusocial without first revising the definition of eusociality itself, seeing as a universal explanation for evolution of sociality in both vertebrates and invertebrates does not currently exists, and this is possibly something that could be the focus of future studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's thesis)
Supervisor: Lisičić, Duje
Date: 2015
Number of Pages: 14
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Faculty of Science > Department of Biology
Depositing User: Silvana Šehić
Date Deposited: 14 Apr 2016 11:13
Last Modified: 14 Apr 2016 11:13
URI: http://digre.pmf.unizg.hr/id/eprint/4730

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