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Dec 26 2011

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Evolution of Leks

Long-tailed Hermit (Phaethornis superciliosus) Science Article 2

abstract

The most likely reason for males banding in groups known as ‘leks’) for courtship behavior is because it providesan opportunity for females to assess a wide range of males for selection of the best possible traits-and isadvantageous for males because leks increase their chance for encountering females. Three hypotheses have beenproposed for how leks occur: ‘preference,’ ‘hotshot,’ and the ‘hotspot’ hypotheses. The female ‘preference’hypothesis states that, females prefer mating at leks because of the advantages they gain compared to mating atsolitary sites. This idea suggests that the risk of predation is reduced; a reduction in the cost of searching for matesshould be observed, as well as a comparison of male qualities for potential mates. One experiment refuted thishypothesis. Evidence has shown that rarely does the same predator strike the same nest twice. In fact, the studyshowed that in over five hundred hours of observation of leks, only two predation attempts, both unsuccessful, wereobserved.

SHEKIB DASTAGIR, KIM DI MINNI’, JEFF PRITSKY, HAMID SAADATI, Student paper, NYU, 1997

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