Spotting behaviour and daily activity cycle in the Alpine Marmots (Marmota marmota L.): a role for infant guarding
During summer season, and across the day, marmot spp. exhibit a peculiar behaviour defined “spotting” or wary-sitting lying, this aspect of Alpine Marmot behaviour is investigated in the present field study conducted from 1985 until 1993 at the Gran Paradiso National Park, Valle d’Aosta, Italy. Results show that male andfemale adults considered together allocated more time to spotting than to feeding when infants were present than in the year of settling or when skipping reproduction. They also did more spotting than adults that never reproduced, and their sons and daughters of two years or more. During the month of July infants of the year allocated less time to feeding than to social activities, suggesting that this is a very important behaviour for confirmation of their social role. Conclusions suggest that in the alpine marmots spotting might have more than one function and kin guarding is included.
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