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Inbreeding depression was evident for a variety of traits: pup mass at emergence from the natal burrow, hind-foot length, growth until independence and juvenile survival. Meerkats are matriarchal, and the alpha female chooses the alpha male. The alpha female meerkat is usually the largest female in the gang.

Breeding is mostly the responsibility of the alpha couple with the female in charge. They are mostly seasonal breeders.

She is the only female in the gang allowed to breed, and she breeds exclusively with the alpha male. Images, Pics, Photos and Pictures of Meerkat: Breeding. However, subordinate females very occasionally will reproduce, and subordinate males will temporarily leave the group to try to mate with females of other groups, which suggests polygynous behavior. The male Meerkat initiates the process by fighting the female. She scratches and fights her way to the dominant position. Meerkat society is one of cooperative breeding-- everyone pitches in to care for the young. In the face of resistance, he will wrestle her until she submits. Meerkats exhibit a monogamous mating system, meaning that the dominant male and female of each group are usually the only individuals to successfully breed.

In addition to the alpha couple, the gang consists of beta males, beta females and pups.

When pups are born, they're hairless and unable to open their eyes or ears for at least 10 days.

Pups are meerkat babies, 10 months old or younger. Meerkats become sexually mature in one to two years. [29] When mating does occur between meerkat relatives, it often results in negative fitness consequences or inbreeding depression.

Beta males and beta females are all the meerkats in the …

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