At first glance, mole rats look like puny creatures because of their appearance as well as their poor eyesight. But don’t let their appearance deceive you; these rodents can be a force to be reckoned with, at least to their enemies at their own size, which are other mole rats.
New research suggests there’s brute power in those numbers: Like ants or termites, the mole-rats go to battle with rival colonies to conquer their lands.
Wild naked mole-rats (Heterocephalus glaber) will invade nearby colonies to expand their territory, sometimes abducting pups to incorporate them into their own ranks, researchers report September 28 in the Journal of Zoology. This behavior may put smaller, less cohesive colonies at a disadvantage, potentially supporting the evolution of bigger colonies.
Researchers stumbled across this phenomenon by accident while monitoring naked mole-rat colonies in Kenya’s Meru National Park.
The phrase “quantity has a quality of its own” is, indeed, true to some extent.
More details about this over at ScienceNews.
(Image Credit: Roman Klementschitz/ Wikimedia Commons)