Competition for milk in the domestic rabbit: Survivors benefit from littermate deaths

Citation
H. Drummond et al., Competition for milk in the domestic rabbit: Survivors benefit from littermate deaths, ETHOLOGY, 106(6), 2000, pp. 511-526
Citations number
53
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Animal Sciences","Neurosciences & Behavoir
Journal title
ETHOLOGY
ISSN journal
0179-1613 → ACNP
Volume
106
Issue
6
Year of publication
2000
Pages
511 - 526
Database
ISI
SICI code
0179-1613(200006)106:6<511:CFMITD>2.0.ZU;2-V
Abstract
We sought evidence for postnatal resource limitation among littermates of t he domestic rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus, and asked whether deaths of indiv idual pups benefit survivors by increasing their share of milk. Milk ingest ion, growth and mortality of 10 chinchilla-breed captive litters were recor ded between birth and age 21 d. That milk limits growth and survival was in dicated by larger litters showing lower weight gain and higher mortality, a nd by a significant positive correlation between milk ingested by individua l pups and weight increase. Within litters, pups with higher birth weights grew faster, and weight hierarchies became increasingly stable over the 3 w eeks, suggesting that advantages accrued during gestation were progressivel y consolidated during lactation. After individual pups died, the total dail y milk weight obtained by the litter was generally unaffected but per capit a milk consumption and growth of surviving pups increased, and increases in per capita consumption were greater in smaller litters. The most successfu l competitors for milk apparently benefit from the deaths of their litterma tes by obtaining an increased share of an undiminished daily fc,od supply. This relationship has not previously been demonstrated in any vertebrate.