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Animals are programmed by their genes to act in a manner than most efficiently passes on these genes to subsequent generations, increasing the genes’ chance of survival. Thus, the “paradox of the lek” seemed to defy the very foundations of natural selection and genetics. A lek is a group of males with a very distinct hierarchy who gather together in competitive mating display as a large group. The females of the species almost always choose to mate only with the dominant males in the center of the lek, which should, theoretically, eliminate the diversity of the group and, therefore, the persistence of the act of preference itself. However, this choice is still seen in lekking species. This chapter studies lekking behavior in a variety of animals, such as manakins, the black grouse, antelopes, cichlids, and moor frogs by discussing many of the possible hypotheses for the selection of leks from scientists who have studied this peculiar behavior. Their findings are, to date, inconclusive, but point to such hypotheses lek size, competition among males, female mating bias, territoriality, networking, and environmental factors, as contributing to the persistence of lekking in animals.

Author: Kirby Kempe


The wide variety of mating systems and display behaviors in the animal kingdom today represents species’ adaptation and co-adaptation to their environments. Mating behavior is determined both by ecological conditions and by differences in parental care and family organization. Mating behavior can be classified as monogamous or mating multiply, though there are multiple subsets of each broad classification. For example, in a polygynous species, one form of mating multiply, one male can mate with multiple females, whereas in a polyandrous species, one female mates with multiple males ( [link] ). Whenever individuals of one sex can mate with multiple individuals of the other sex, it follows from sex ratio arguments that some to many individuals of the multiple mating sex will not get to mate at all. Species that mate multiply, as opposed to monogamous species, are far more common in the animal kingdom and life-pairs are extremely rare. In fact, the most common system is one in which no bond is formed whatsoever and there is no care by either parent, known as promiscuity. However, even among only multiply-mating species, mating behavior varies widely. Natural selection has worked to favor elaborate courtship rituals and complex mating displays that underline the process of sexual selection , giving rise to species that spend much of their time and energy attracting a mate. Perhaps the most puzzling of these displays, known as a lek, is the large aggregation of displaying males that females interact with solely for the purpose of procreation (Kokko 1996).

Mating systems

Monogamy : Research suggests monogamy occurs when there is no potential for polygamy or for taking advantage of limited polygamy potential. It is estimated that over 90% of avian species are monogamous, but monogamy is very rare among mammals (Emlen et al. 1977). It is hypothesized that monogamy is advantageous when male territories are small and equal and the cost of mating is high, so polygynous females are at a disadvantage, and where male assistance is necessary to raise offspring so the male rears more successful offspring more by assisting one female than by mating multiply (Clutton-Brock 1989).

Polygyny : Polygyny occurs in situations where behavioral and/or environmental conditions cause females to clump together, where males either monopolize them directly or by hoarding resources and mate with the same group multiple times (Emlen et al. 1977, Clutton-Brock 1989). Polygyny is seen in many marsupials, carnivores, and rodents (Clutton-Brock 1989). Polygyny is most common when male home ranges overlap with those of several females as opposed to monogamous ranges overlapping with that of only one female (Clutton-Brock 1989).

Polyandry : Females can monopolize males if resources are congregated and able to monopolize or by defending and directly controlling males (Emlen et al. 1977).

While these are the main systemic classifications, some species alternate between variations of these while some mate in different arrangements altogether.

Questions & Answers

where we get a research paper on Nano chemistry....?
Maira Reply
what are the products of Nano chemistry?
Maira Reply
There are lots of products of nano chemistry... Like nano coatings.....carbon fiber.. And lots of others..
Even nanotechnology is pretty much all about chemistry... Its the chemistry on quantum or atomic level
no nanotechnology is also a part of physics and maths it requires angle formulas and some pressure regarding concepts
Preparation and Applications of Nanomaterial for Drug Delivery
Hafiz Reply
Application of nanotechnology in medicine
what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
yes that's correct
I think
Nasa has use it in the 60's, copper as water purification in the moon travel.
nanocopper obvius
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
How we are making nano material?
what is a peer
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
What is STMs full form?
scanning tunneling microscope
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
analytical skills graphene is prepared to kill any type viruses .
Any one who tell me about Preparation and application of Nanomaterial for drug Delivery
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Mockingbird tales: readings in animal behavior. OpenStax CNX. Jan 12, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11211/1.5
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