Large group size yields group stability in the cooperatively breeding cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher Dik Heg 1,2) , Lyanne Brouwer 1,3) , Zina Bachar 1) & Michael Taborsky 1) ( 1 Department of Behavioural Ecology, Zoological Institute, University of Bern, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland; 3 Animal Ecology Group, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, 9750AA Haren, the Netherlands) (Accepted: 25 July 2005) Summary Group size has been shown to positively influence survival of group members in many cooper- atively breeding vertebrates, including the Lake Tanganyika cichlid Neolamprologus pulcher , suggesting Allee effects. However, long-term data are scarce to test how these survival differ- ences translate into changes in group extinction risk, group size and composition. We show in a field study of 117 groups from six different colonies (three from two populations each), that group size critically influences these parameters between years. Within one year, 34% of the groups went extinct. Group size correlated positively between years and large groups did not go extinct. The latter were more likely to contain small helpers the subsequent year, which is a cumulative measure of the previous months’ reproductive success. Finally, there was a tendency that large groups were more
Behaviour – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2005
Keywords: GROUP SIZE; GROUP STABILITY; LAKE TANGANYIKA CICHLIDS; COOPERATIVE BREEDING
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