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Forskningsartikel - Refereegranskat, 1993

Costs and Consequences of Variation in the Size of Ruff Leks

Widemo, Fredrik; Höglund, Jacob; Montgomerie, Robert


We studied 13 ruff leks in a small region on the island of Gotland (Sweden) to investigate the effect of lek size on the costs and benefits of lekking for individual males. Male ruffs occur in two behaviourally and morphologically distinct forms, ''independents'' (''residents'' plus ''marginals'') and ''satellites'', whose costs and benefits we have assessed separately. These ruff leks had from 1-10 resident (territory-holding) males and were visited daily by satellites, marginals and females from 5-25 May, when most copulations occurred. We used the average number of independent males, counted during censuses taken every 5 min during 2-h observation periods at each lek, as an index of mean lek size. Per independent male, the numbers of both satellites and females increased significantly with mean lek size. Female arrival rate and attendance (total female-minutes) also increased significantly with mean lek size as did the average per capita rate of mating success for resident males (that of satellites was not quite significant). Thus, the dispersion of both of these male categories did not appear to fit an ideal free distribution with respect to mating success. In addition, the number of independent-independent fights per independent and the rate of satellite-resident dyad formation per resident increased significantly with mean lek size. These results suggest that ruffs on larger leks enjoy higher mating success than those on smaller leks but also that costs increase with lek size. We suggest that independent males distribute themselves so as to maximize their own net benefits and that this factor can account for both the occurrence of ruff leks and the variation in their size.

Publicerad i

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
1993, Volym: 32, nummer: 1, sidor: 31-39
Utgivare: SPRINGER