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dc.contributor.authorArso Civil, Monica
dc.contributor.authorHague, Emily
dc.contributor.authorLangley, Izzy
dc.contributor.authorScott-Hayward, Lindesay
dc.identifier.citationArso Civil , M , Hague , E , Langley , I & Scott-Hayward , L 2021 , ' Allo-suckling occurrence and its effect on lactation and nursing duration in harbour seals ( Phoca vitulina ) in Orkney, Scotland ' , Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology , vol. 75 , 121 .
dc.identifier.otherPURE: 274879430
dc.identifier.otherPURE UUID: 55fb1577-60f0-4b2b-b518-94cbc108ad61
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0003-3402-533X/work/98784994
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0001-8239-9526/work/98785583
dc.identifier.otherScopus: 85112785781
dc.identifier.otherWOS: 000686552000001
dc.identifier.otherORCID: /0000-0002-8957-1373/work/116598370
dc.descriptionThis study was funded by Scottish Government (grant number MMSS/002/15).en
dc.description.abstractFostering and allo-suckling are widespread among pinnipeds, and several hypotheses have been formulated to explain their occurrence. Here, we describe the occurrence of allo-suckling in harbour seals from photo-identification data of females and pups in Orkney (Scotland) during the pupping seasons between 2016 and 2019. We used a generalised linear model framework to investigate the effect of allo-suckling on the duration of lactation (females) and of nursing period (pups). A generalised additive model framework was used to explore how the probability of allo-suckling varied throughout the pupping season, and with changes in mother-pup separation time. Allo-suckling was observed in 31 females, at higher rates (18–37% of lactating females and 18–47% of the pups every year) than those observed in other phocid populations, with 13 females allo-suckling in multiple years. The duration of the pups’ nursing period was not affected by allo-suckling occurrence. However, females in mother-pup pairs where both mother and pup allo-suckled had longer lactation duration than when only the pup allo-suckled, or than in pairs where no allo-suckling was observed. The probability of allo-suckling increased during the pupping season and with increased mother-pup separation time. However, the proximate causes and the consequences on future reproductive output and pup survival remain unknown.
dc.relation.ispartofBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiologyen
dc.rightsCopyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit
dc.subjectLactation durationen
dc.subjectNursing perioden
dc.subjectHarbour sealen
dc.subjectQH301 Biologyen
dc.subjectScottish Governmenten
dc.titleAllo-suckling occurrence and its effect on lactation and nursing duration in harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in Orkney, Scotlanden
dc.typeJournal articleen
dc.description.versionPublisher PDFen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Sea Mammal Research Uniten
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. School of Biologyen
dc.contributor.institutionUniversity of St Andrews. Centre for Research into Ecological & Environmental Modellingen
dc.description.statusPeer revieweden

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