Jessica Rivera, MSc Student

Paternity in Cape Ground Squirrels

Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, University of Zurich


One of the main factors that goes into an animal’s decisions to disperse from its natal group is whether or not there are available mates. In our population of Cape ground squirrels, some males disperse from their home group, but others will remain at home for their whole lives. When a female comes into estrous, males both in the group and from outside of the group can tell and will all arrive at the burrow to attempt to mate with her. I will investigate how this decision to stay at their natal group longer, as well as other factors such as age and general familiarity with the female in question, impacts the number of pups male squirrels father.

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