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Encyclopedia > Lek (animal behaviour)

A lek is a gathering of males of certain species of animal for the purposes of competitive mating display, held before and during the breeding season, day after day. The same group of males meet at a traditional place and take up the same individual positions on an arena, each occupying and defending a small territory or court. Intermittently or continuously, they spar individually with their neighbours or put on extravagant visual or aural displays (mating "dances" or gymnastics, plumage displays, vocal challenges, etc.). The term derives from the Swedish lek, a noun which typically denotes pleasurable and less rule-bound games and activities ("play", as by children). The shield and spear of the Roman God Mars are often used to represent the male sex In heterogamous species, male is the sex of an organism, or of a part of an organism, which typically produces smaller, mobile gametes (spermatozoa) that are able to fertilise female gametes (ova). ... Phyla Subregnum Parazoa Porifera (sponges) Subregnum Agnotozoa Placozoa (trichoplax) Orthonectida (orthonectids) Rhombozoa (dicyemids) Subregnum Eumetazoa Radiata (unranked) (radial symmetry) Ctenophora (comb jellies) Cnidaria (coral, jellyfish, anemones) Bilateria (unranked) (bilateral symmetry) Acoelomorpha (basal) Myxozoa (slime animals) Superphylum Deuterostomia (blastopore becomes anus) Chordata (vertebrates, etc. ... Elephants Mating Tortoises mating Sevenspotted Lady Beetle mating In biology, mating is the pairing of opposite-sex or hermaphroditic internal fertilization animals for copulation and insemination and, in social animals, also to raise their offspring. ...

A strict hierarchy accords the most desirable top-ranking males the most prestigious central territory, with ungraded and lesser aspirants ranged outside. Females come to these arenas in due course to be fertilized, and normally they make their way through to one or other of the dominants in the centre.


Lekking behaviour

Two main types of lek are distinguished, classical leks and exploded leks. In classical leks, individuals gather within sight of each other to court and compete. Physical contest in these situations is frequent, and plays a major role in the mating rituals of certain shorebird and gamebird species. In Cyrtocara eucinostomus, a type of fish, the males build sand castles. The lek member with the tallest mound of sand - almost a meter wide at the base - wins the females. These sandcastles take this ten centimeter (four inch) long animal two weeks to build. Peacocks also form leks to display their tails.[1] Peacock re-directs here; for alternate uses see Peacock (disambiguation). ...

Exploded leks rely on vocal signals. Male hammer-headed bats have a voice box that occupies more than half their body cavities; during breeding season, they gather for several hours at dawn and dusk to honk for females.[1] The most famous example of exploded leks is the "booming" call of the Kakapo, the males of which position themselves many kilometers apart from one another to signal to potential mates. Indeed, female kakapos seemed to often have considerable difficulty locating mates as the population declined on mainland New Zealand; this was a significant contributing factor to the insufficient reproduction rate which caused this species to go extinct outside human care for some years. Binomial name Strigops habroptilus Gray, 1845 The Kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning night parrot), Strigops habroptilus (from the Greek strix, genitive strigos: owl and ops: face; and habros: soft, and ptilon: feather), is a species of nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. ...

The Lek Paradox

Persistent female choice for particular male trait values should erode genetic variance in male traits and thereby remove the benefits of choice, yet choice persists. This is most obvious in lekking species where females gain no material benefits or parental care from males.[2] This paradox can be somewhat alleviated by the occurrence of mutations introducing potential differences, as well as the possibility that traits of interest have more or less favorable recessive alleles.

In a few species (peacocks and the black grouse), leks are composed of brothers and half-brothers. These species avoid this paradox because the lower-ranking males are passing on their genes through attracting mates for their brothers (larger leks attract more females). Peacocks recognize and will lek with their brothers, even if they have never met before. [1]

Lekking species

The term was originally used most commonly for Black Grouse (orrlek) and for Capercaillie (tj√§derlek), and lekking behaviour is quite common in birds of this type, such as Sage Grouse. However it is also shown by birds of other families, such as the Ruff, Great Snipe, Musk Ducks, Hermit hummingbirds, Manakins, birds of paradise and the Kakapo, by some mammals such as the Uganda kob (a waterbuck) and by some species of fish and even insects like the midge and the Ghost Moth. The rut of deer is also very similar. There is some dispute among ethologists as to whether the lekking behaviour shown by animals of widely different groups should really be treated as the same, and in particular whether similar selective pressures have led to their emergence. Binomial name Tetrao tetrix (Linnaeus, 1758) The Black Grouse (Tetrao tetrix) is a large bird in the grouse family. ... This article is about the bird. ... Orders Many - see section below. ... Binomial name Centrocercus urophasianus (Bonaparte, 1827) Centrocercus minimus Young et. ... For other meanings, see Ruff (disambiguation) Binomial name Philomachus pugnax (Linnaeus,, 1758) The Ruff (Philomachus pugnax) is a medium-sized wader. ... Binomial name Gallinago media (Latham, 1787) The Great Snipe, Gallinago media is a small stocky wader. ... Binomial name Biziura lobata (Shaw, 1796) Musk Ducks (Biziura lobata) are highly aquatic, stiff-tailed ducks native to southern Australia. ... Binomial name Phaethornis guy Lesson, 1833 The Green Hermit (Phaethornis guy) is a large hummingbird that is a resident breeder from Panama and Costa Rica south to eastern Peru, northeastern Venezuela and Trinidad. ... Genera Chloropipo Manacus Corapipo Chiroxiphia Pipra Lepidothrix Antilophia Masius Machaeropterus Xenopipo Heterocercus Neopelma Ilicura Tyranneutes Piprites The manakins are a family of some sixty small passerine bird species of subtropical and tropical Central and South America. ... For the flowering plant of this name, see Strelitzia Genera Cicinnurus Diphyllodes Epimachus Lophorina Manucodia Paradisaea Parotia Ptiloris Seleucidis Lesser Bird of Paradise Paradisaea minor (c)Roderick Eime The birds of paradise are members of the family Paradisaeidae of the order Passeriformes, found in Oceania. ... Binomial name Strigops habroptilus Gray, 1845 The Kakapo (Māori: kākāpō, meaning night parrot), Strigops habroptilus (from the Greek strix, genitive strigos: owl and ops: face; and habros: soft, and ptilon: feather), is a species of nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. ... Binomial name Kobus kob (Erxleben, 1777) The Kob (Kobus kob) is an antelope found across Sub-Saharan West Africa. ... Genera Kobus Redunca The subfamily Reduncinae is composed 8 species of antelope all of which dwell in marshes, floodplains or other well-watered areas, including the waterbucks and reedbucks. ... The Guppy, also known as guppie (Poecilia reticulata) is one of the most popular freshwater aquarium fish species in the world. ... Midges on a car Midges are small, two-winged flying insects. ... Binomial name Hepialus humuli (Linnaeus, 1758) The Ghost Moth (Hepialus humuli), also known as the Ghost Swift, is a moth of the family Hepialidae. ... Rut is a period of time, occurring once each year, during which mammals are sexually excited and mate. ... Subfamilies Capreolinae Cervinae Hydropotinae Muntiacinae A deer is a ruminant mammal belonging to the family Cervidae. ... Ethology is the scientific study of animal behavior considered as a branch of zoology. ...


  1. ^ a b c Judson, Olivia 2002. Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice To All Creation. Metropolitan Books. ISBN 0-8050-6331-5.
  2. ^ Tomkins, Joseph L. Genic capture and resolving the lek paradox. TRENDS in Ecology and Evolution. Vol.19 No.6 June 2004.



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