Colony and social structure of the Ghana mole-rat (Cryptomys zechi, Matchie) (Rodentia: Bathyergidae)

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Abstract

Some aspects of the colony and social structure of the Ghana mole-rat Cryptomys zechi were studied in a mesic Guinea savanna woodland in Ghana. Colony size ranged between one and seven (average 3.6). The mean adult body weight was 217.9 g and the colony biomass was 634 g. Responsibility for colony safety in C. zechi, as revealed from order of capture in response to damage to the burrow system, is age dependent, with sub-adults being the most frequent repairers. There are indications that male workers are more involved in colony maintenance than females and that the reproductive individuals, especially the males, perform little work. We discuss the finding that C. zechi although a social bathyergid, is close to the bottom of the sociality ladder.

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