Polygyny in animals


Polygyny (/pəˈlɪɪn/; from Neo-Greek πολυγυνία, from πολύ- poly-, "many", and γυνή gyne, "woman" or "wife")[1] is a mating system in which one male lives and mates with multiple females but each female only mates with a single male. Systems where several females mate with several males are defined either as promiscuity or polygynandry. Lek mating is frequently regarded as a form of polygyny, because one male mates with many females, but lek-based mating systems differ in that the male has no attachment to the females with whom he mates, and that mating females lack attachment to one another.[2]

Polygyny is typical of one-male, multi-female groups[3] and can be found in many species including: elephant seal,[4] spotted hyena,[5] gorilla, red-winged prinia, house wren, hamadryas baboon, common pheasant, red deer, Bengal tiger, Xylocopa sonorina, Anthidium manicatum and elk.[citation needed] Often in polygynous systems, females will provide the majority of parental care.[6]

  1. ^ A Greek–English Lexicon, Liddell & Scott, s.v. γυνή
  2. ^ Clutton-Brock T.H. (1989). ‘Review lecture: mammalian mating systems.' Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 236: 339–372.
  3. ^ Boyd, R., & Silk, J. B. (2009). How Humans Evolved (preferably the downloadable pdf version): WW Norton & Company, New York.
  4. ^ de Bruyn, P.J.N.; Tosh, C.A.; Bester, M.N.; Cameron, E.Z.; McIntyre, T.; Wilkinson, I.S. (2011). "Sex at sea: alternative mating system in an extremely polygynous mammal" (PDF). Animal Behaviour. 82 (3): 445–451. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.06.006. hdl:2263/17388. S2CID 53200630.
  5. ^ Holekamp, Kay E., et al. "Society, demography and genetic structure in the spotted hyena." Molecular Ecology 21.3 (2012): 613-632.
  6. ^ Davies, N. B., Krebs, J. R., & West, S. A. (2012). An introduction to behavioural ecology. John Wiley & Sons.

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