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Lekking as collective behaviour

Rathore, A and Isvaran, K and Guttal, V (2023) Lekking as collective behaviour. In: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences, 378 (1874). p. 20220066.

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Official URL: https://10.1098/rstb.2022.0066


Lekking is a spectacular mating system in which males maintain tightly organized clustering of territories during the mating season, and females visit these leks for mating. Various hypotheses-ranging from predation dilution to mate choice and mating benefit-offer potential explanations for the evolution of this peculiar mating system. However, many of these classic hypotheses rarely consider the spatial dynamics that produce and maintain the lek. In this article, we propose to view lekking through the perspective of collective behaviour, in which simple local interactions between organisms, as well as habitat, likely produce and maintain lekking. Further, we argue that interactions within the leks change over time, typically over a breeding season, to produce many broad-level as well as specific collective patterns. To test these ideas at both proximate and ultimate levels, we argue that the concepts and tools from the literature on collective animal behaviour, such as agent-based models and high-resolution video tracking that enables capturing fine-scale spatio-temporal interactions, could be useful. To demonstrate the promise of these ideas, we develop a spatially explicit agent-based model and show how simple rules such as spatial fidelity, local social interactions and repulsion among males can potentially explain the formation of lek and synchronous departures of males for foraging from the lek. On the empirical side, we discuss the promise of applying the collective behaviour approach to blackbuck (Antilope cervicapra) leks-using high-resolution recordings via a camera fitted to unmanned aerial vehicles and subsequent tracking of animal movements. Broadly, we suggest that a lens of collective behaviour may provide novel insights into understanding both the proximate and ultimate factors that shape leks. This article is part of a discussion meeting issue 'Collective behaviour through time'.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences
Publisher: NLM (Medline)
Additional Information: The copyright of this article belongs to Royal Society Publishing.
Keywords: Animals; Antelopes; Female; Male; Mass Behavior; Predatory Behavior; Reproduction; Seasons; Sexual Behavior, Animal; animal; antelope; female; male; mass behavior; predation; reproduction; season; sexual behavior
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2023 05:42
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2023 05:42
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/80925

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