Innovative parental care in a myrmecophageous mammal

A. Le Roux, R. Beishuizen, W. Brekelmans, A. Ganswindt, Monica Paris, F.D. Dalerum

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    5 Citations (Scopus)


    Male bat-eared foxes, Otocyon megalotis, are known to contribute extensively to parental care. Yet, the exact roles that males and females play in raising offspring remain relatively unexplored. Here, we describe interactions between adult foxes and their presumed offspring based on a pilot study on three family groups of a wild population in South Africa. We report the first recorded instance of dung provisioning observed in canids. A male bat-eared fox provided dung to his offspring during a foraging trip, presumably to give them access to the ensconced insects. Further, this male provisioned the young foxes with large, live insects. Similar to other researchers, we never observed provisioning by females, but the females in this population did interact socially with their young in addition to suckling. We emphasize the importance of anecdotal reports of novel behavioural responses in wild canids, as an accumulation of such evidence may reveal patterns of innovative behaviour presently unrecognized in this family. © 2013 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg and ISPA.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)63-66
    JournalActa Ethologica
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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