Date of Award
Master of Science
David A. Freeman
Stephan J. Schoech
Michael H. Ferkin
The Damaraland mole-rat (DMR; Fukoymys damarensis) is one of a small number of mammals that are eusocial. In this mating system, only a single pair reproduce while the other remaining colony members are non-reproductive. Non-breeders exhibit sexual behavior only when paired with unfamiliar opposite-sex individuals. The role of the gonads in the regulation of reproductive behaviors in non-breeders remains unknown; however, inbreeding avoidance has been hypothesized to account, in part, for the lack of reproductive behavior in non-breeding individuals. The mechanism that regulates incest avoidance also remains unknown. The aims of this study were twofold; first, to investigate the role of the gonads in the expression of sexual behaviors and second, to identify the mechanism of incest avoidance. The results indicate 1) that the expression of sexual behavior is largely independent of the gonads and 2) that rather than incest avoidance per se, DMR avoid mating with familiar individuals irrespective of relatedness.
dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Carter, Sara Nicole, "The Role of the Gonads and Incest Avoidance in the Regulation of Sexual Behavior in Damaraland Mole-Rats" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 601.