The evolution of sociality and biodiversity in the African mole-rats, Family Bathyergidae

The African mole-rats (family Bathyergidae) are a unique group of subterranean hystricomorph rodents that exhibit the widest range in social behaviours of all mammals. Species within the group range from solitary dwelling, to the eusocial Damaraland mole-rat (Fukomys damarensis) and naked mole-rat (Heterocephalus glaber). Previous and current work has concentrated on testing fundamental theories on the evolution by kin selection of altruistic behaviour in social species (e.g. optimal reproductive skew), using a multi-disiplinary approach involving molecular genetic, ecological, behavioural and physiological studies. We have extensive samples from and access to a range of captive species, and are currently concentrating research activity into the following broad areas:

Fukomys mechowi