TitleSocial and life history correlates of litter size in captive colonies of precocial spiny mice (Acomys)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsFrynta, D, Frankova, M, Cizkova, B, Skarlandtova, H, Galestokova, K, Prusova, K, Smilauer, P, Sumbera, R
JournalActa Theriologica

Litter size is an important component of life history contributing to reproductive success in many animals. Among muroid rodents, spiny mice of the genus Acomys are exceptional because they produce large precocial offspring after a long gestation. We analyzed data on 1,809 litters from laboratory colonies of spiny mice from the cahirinus-dimidiatus group: Acomys cahirinus, Acomys cilicicus, Acomys sp. (Iran), and Acomys dimidiatus. Generalized mixed-effect models revealed that litter size increased with maternal body weight and/or number of immature females present in the family group. Thus, both maternal body reserves and presence of immature descendants demonstrating previous reproductive success enhance further reproduction in this social rodent.