Kin recognition in Townsend's chipmunks (Tamias townsendii) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/th83m240k

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  • Juvenile T. townsendii were tested at 55-62 days of age to determine whether 1) they could distinguish kin from non-kin and 2) whether this ability was based on familiarity or on genetic relatedness. Seventy-three pups were observed in 68 pairwise tests. The frequencies and durations of 8 behaviors as well as the distance between pups were recorded in 10 min. trials. Analyses indicated that pups distinguished familiar animals from unfamiliar animals in the frequency of contacts, and the occurrence of attacks and chases. Pups distinguished animals on the basis of relatedness in the occurrence of chasing. Both relatedness and familiarity probably play a role in the frequency of sniffing and grooming, the duration of grooming and in the mean distance between pups, as shown by the significant interaction between familiarity and relatedness in a 2-way ANOVA. The sex composition of pairs also affected behavior. Sex influenced the frequency of grooming, the frequency of contact and the mean distance between animals. However, the ability to recognize kin was not limited to one sex. Kin recognition may enable T. townsendii to direct nepotistic behavior (eg. alarm calls) toward kin. It may also function to facilitate optimal outbreeding in this asocial species.
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