Fission-fusion dynamics in wild giraffes may be driven by kinship, spatial overlap and individual social preferences

Carter, Kerryn D., Seddon, Jennifer M., Frère, Celine H., Carter, John K. and Goldizen, Anne W. (2013) Fission-fusion dynamics in wild giraffes may be driven by kinship, spatial overlap and individual social preferences. Animal Behaviour, 85 2: 385-394. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.11.011

Author Carter, Kerryn D.
Seddon, Jennifer M.
Frère, Celine H.
Carter, John K.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Title Fission-fusion dynamics in wild giraffes may be driven by kinship, spatial overlap and individual social preferences
Journal name Animal Behaviour   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-3472
Publication date 2013-02-01
Year available 2012
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2012.11.011
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 85
Issue 2
Start page 385
End page 394
Total pages 10
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Language eng
Subject 1105 Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
1103 Animal Science and Zoology
Abstract Many species exhibit fission-fusion dynamics, yet the factors that influence the frequent changes in group size and membership in these species have not been widely studied. Social ties may be influenced by kinship but animals may also form preferred associations because of social attraction or may only associate because they have similar habitat preferences. We investigated the association patterns of 535 wild giraffes, Giraffa camelopardalis, in Etosha National Park, Namibia using behavioural and genetic data from individually identified giraffes. We collected 726 records of group composition over a 14-month period and calculated pairwise association indices, which were tested against a null model. We found that female-female pairs, but not male-male pairs, showed both preferred and avoided relationships. We tested whether females' relationships could be explained by the degree of relatedness between pairs and whether pairs overlapped spatially. Correlations between matrices of pairwise associations, spatial overlap and relatedness showed that female-female associations were strongly correlated with amounts of spatial overlap and pairs that exhibited preferred relationships were more closely related than would be expected by chance. However, only about one-quarter of the variation in observed associations could be explained by spatial overlap and relatedness and therefore much of this variation may have been related to individual social preferences.
Keyword Association pattern
Fission-fusion sociality
Genetic relatedness
Giraffa camelopardalis
Half-weight index
Home range
Preferred associate
Spatial overlap
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes Published online 19 December 2012.

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
School of Veterinary Science Publications
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Created: Mon, 04 Feb 2013, 22:25:06 EST by Gail Walter on behalf of School of Biological Sciences