Affiliation in Four Echimyid Rodent Species based on Intrasexual Dyadic Encounters: Evolutionary Implications

Authors


Pedro L. B. da Rocha, Instituto de Biologia, Universidade Federal da Bahia, Rua Barão de Geremoabo, s/n – Ondina, Campus de Ondina, Salvador, Bahia, CEP 40170-290, Brazil. E-mail: peurocha@ufba.br

Abstract

In this work we explored the evolution of sociality in cursorial echimyids by comparing affiliation among three species of Trinomys and one species of Thrichomys. We captured specimens of Trinomys yonenagae, Trinomys albispinus minor, and Thrichomys apereoides in areas of the Brazilian semiarid Caatinga, and Trinomys iheringi denigratus in one area of Atlantic Forest. For each species, we recorded 12 intra-sexual dyadic encounters in a neutral arena (six between males and six between females) in order to test the hypothesis that species and sex influence level of affiliation. This response variable was assessed based on an affiliation index, calculated as the proportion of the total number of affiliative behaviors to the total number of social behaviors exhibited by the dyad during each encounter. Hypothesis test was performed by means of a parametric two-way anova. The test was able to detect significant differences only among species, not among sexes. Trinomys yonenagae was the most affiliative species, while T. apereoides and T. albispinus minor were the most agonistic ones. Trinomys iheringi denigratus showed an intermediate pattern. We suggest, based on out-group comparison, that affiliation in Trinomys increased in the lineage containing T. iheringi denigratus and T. yonenagae and that higher affiliation in the last species can be adaptive to the life in the desert-like habitat where it lives.

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