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Habitat Differences and Variability in the Lek Mating System of Black Grouse

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Spatially fixed territoriality has been regarded to be a general feature in lek mating systems. In the absence of territories, however, the nature of leks may change remarkably. We compared leks of black grouse in areas, where territoriality was governed by habitat characteristics. On ice-covered lakes, where the lekking ground was homogeneous and offered no landmarks by which the displaying males would be able to recognize territory boundaries, the male aggregations were mobile. 'Classical' leks on bogs, however, were stable. It also appeared that on mobile leks, as compared to stable leks, the opportunities for females to choose their mates were reduced. The distribution of mating success was more biased in the absence of fixed territories, which may indicate more intense sexual selection.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological & Environmental Science, University of Jyväskylä, Box 35, FIN-40351 Jyväskylä, Finland

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