No behavioural response to kin competition in a lekking species

Lebigre, Christophe, Timmermans, Catherine and Soulsbury, Carl (2016) No behavioural response to kin competition in a lekking species. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70 (9). pp. 1457-1465. ISSN 0340-5443

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The processes of kin selection and competition may occur simultaneously if limited individual dispersal i.e. population viscosity, is the only cause of the interactions between kin. Therefore, the net indirect benefits of a specific behaviour may largely depend on the existence of mechanisms dampening the fitness costs of competing with kin. In lekking species, males may increase the mating success of their close relatives (and hence gain indirect fitness benefits) because female prefer large leks. At the same time, kin selection may also lead to the evolution of mechanisms that dampen the costs of kin competition. As this mechanism has largely been ignored to date, we used detailed behavioural and genetic data collected in the black grouse Lyrurus tetrix to test whether males mitigate the costs of kin competition through the modulation of their fighting behaviours according to kinship and the avoidance of close relatives when establishing a lek territory. We found that neighbouring males’ fighting behaviour was unrelated to kinship and males did not avoid settling down with close relatives on leks. As males’ current and future mating success are strongly related to their behaviour on the lek (including fighting behaviour and territory position), the costs of kin competition may be negligible relative to the direct benefits of successful male-male contests. As we previously showed that the indirect fitness benefits of group membership were very limited in this black grouse population, these behavioural data support the idea that direct fitness benefits gained by successful male-male encounters likely outbalance any indirect fitness benefits.

Keywords:dominance, indirect fitness benefits, kin selection, kin competition, territoriality, sexual selection, sociality, NotOAChecked
Subjects:C Biological Sciences > C120 Behavioural Biology
C Biological Sciences > C300 Zoology
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
ID Code:23187
Deposited On:25 May 2016 15:16

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