First report of alloparental care in the Key Largo woodrat (Neotoma floridana smalli)
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Here we report the first observation of alloparental care in a subadult female Key Largo woodrat. Maternal and other behaviors were scored for the subject dam and her subadult daughter at the birth of the dam’s second litter and the following 30 days. After assisting with birth, the subadult exhibited maternal behaviors and remained in close proximity to the pups. The rate of maternal care behaviors observed in the subject dam was lower than in solitary dams without an alloparent present. However, the total maternal care score for the dam and subadult combined approached the average score for single dams.
KeywordsInfant care Maternal behavior Rodent Birth assistance Endangered species
We would like to thank Andy Daneault and the Disney’s Animals, Science and Environment Night Husbandry Team for their assistance in this study and their commitment to providing excellent care for the animals. We also thank several members of the Science Team who provided valuable assistance with logistical operations of data collection and analysis. We also thank Cindy Schulz, Tylan Dean, and Sandra Sneckenberger (USFWS) for their support. Animals were cared for in accordance with regulations set forth by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Disney’s Animal Care and Welfare Committee (DACWC).
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