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THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF TERRITORIAL NEIGHBOURS IN A TEXAS PUPFISH (CYPRINODON BOVINUS)

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Territorial animals often establish themselves in clusters despite the presence of suitable unoccupied habitat nearby or the costly interactions involved in settling into conjoining territories. One reason for this may be that the presence of adjacent neighbours allows residents to share the costs of defending against intruders while reaping the benefits of maintaining the territories. In the Leon Springs pupfish, Cyprinodon bovinus, we compared the territories of males defending in a cluster to males defending in dispersed localities and asked whether territory residents would be more successful with or without sharing common borders with competing neighbours. Clustered residents were subjected to more intrusions by conspecific competitors and had a substantial portion of their spawning opportunities interrupted by intruding males. In particular, neighbours caused half of the spawning interruptions observed in clustered territories; in comparison, dispersed residents were rarely interrupted during spawning sequences. However, clustered males approached and spawned with more females than dispersed males, with the consequence that the overall reproductive successes of clustered and dispersed males were similar. These results are discussed in relation to the potential habitat differences between the clustered and dispersed localities and the ideal free distribution of competitors.

10.1163/156853903763999926
/content/journals/10.1163/156853903763999926
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853903763999926
2003-01-01
2016-12-10

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