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Age- and sex-dependent variation in relatedness corresponds to reproductive skew, territory inheritance and workload in cooperatively breeding cichlids

Citation

Josi, Dario et al. (2021), Age- and sex-dependent variation in relatedness corresponds to reproductive skew, territory inheritance and workload in cooperatively breeding cichlids, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.t1g1jwt30

Abstract

Kin selection plays a major role in the evolution of cooperative systems. However, many social species exhibit complex within-group relatedness structures, where kin selection alone cannot explain the occurrence of cooperative behaviour. Understanding such social structures is crucial to elucidate the evolution and maintenance of multi-layered cooperative societies. In lamprologine cichlids, intragroup relatedness seems to correlate positively with reproductive skew, suggesting that in this clade dominants tend to provide reproductive concessions to unrelated subordinates to secure their participation in brood care. We investigate how patterns of within-group relatedness covary with direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation in a highly social vertebrate, the cooperatively breeding, polygynous lamprologine cichlid Neolamprologus savoryi. Behavioural and genetic data from 43 groups containing 578 individuals show that groups are socially and genetically structured into subgroups. About 17% of group members were unrelated immigrants, and average relatedness between breeders and brood care helpers declined with helper age due to group membership dynamics. Hence the relative importance of direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation depends on helper age. Our findings highlight how both direct and indirect fitness benefits of cooperation and group membership can select for cooperative behaviour in societies comprising complex social and relatedness structures.

Usage Notes

Please read the the readme.txt file for a detailed description of the dataset.