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The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog

Social Life of a Burrowing Mammal

In The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog, John L. Hoogland draws on sixteen years of research at Wind Cave National Park, South Dakota, in the United States to provide this account of prairie dog social behavior. Through comparisons with more than 300 other animal species, he offers new insights into basic theory in behavioral ecology and sociobiology.

Hoogland documents interactions within and among families of prairie dogs to examine the advantages and disadvantages of coloniality. By addressing such topics as male and female reproductive success, inbreeding, kin recognition, and infanticide, Hoogland offers a broad view of conflict and cooperation. Among his surprising findings is that prairie dog females sometimes suckle, and at other times kill, the offspring of close kin.

Enhanced by more than 100 photographs, this book illuminates the social organization of a burrowing mammal and raises fundamental questions about current theory. As the most detailed long-term study of any social rodent, The Black-Tailed Prairie Dog will interest not only mammalogists and other vertebrate biologists, but also students of behavioral and evolutionary ecology.

562 pages | 102 halftones, 204 line drawings, 66 tables | 6 x 9 | © 1995

Wildlife Behavior and Ecology series

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology

Psychology: Experimental, Comparative, and Physiological Psychology

Table of Contents

Ch. 1: Prairie Dogs and Coloniality
Ch. 2: Taxonomy and Natural History
Ch. 3: Burrows
Ch. 4: Study Sites and Methods
Ch. 5: Costs and Benefits of Coloniality
Ch. 6: The Coterie
Ch. 7: Infanticide, the Major Cause of Juvenile Mortality
Ch. 8: The Antipredator Call
Ch. 9: Communal Nursing
Ch. 10: Kin Recognition, Social Learning, and Eusociality
Ch. 11: Behavioral Observations of Estrus and Copulations
Ch. 12: Annual and Lifetime Reproductive Success
Ch. 13: Factors That Affect Annual and Lifetime Reproductive Success
Ch. 14: Levels of Inbreeding
Ch. 15: Do Mothers Manipulate the Sex Ratio of Their Litters?
Ch. 16: Demography and Population Dynamics
Ch. 17: Behavioral Ecology of Prairie Dogs
Appendix A. Common and Scientific Names of Organisms Mentioned in This Book
Appendix B. Descriptions of Infanticides by Marauding Females

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