Encyclopedia of Animal Cognition and Behavior

Living Edition
| Editors: Jennifer Vonk, Todd Shackelford

Resource Defense Polygyny

  • Tayler Schudel
  • Kristine O. EvansEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-47829-6_1913-1



Resource defense polygyny is a mating system, whereby males of a species control a resource or territory necessary for successful female reproduction, and in which the male will mate with more than one female during a breeding season.


Resource defense polygyny is one of several different types of mating systems often observed in habitats with variation in the quality and distribution of resources. Different species will require different types of resources when determining habitat quality during the reproductive period. Factors that may increase the likelihood of polygynous behavior include the dependence by the animal on certain features in the habitat and time and resource requirements for male parental care (Emlen and Oring 1977). Polygyny often occurs in habitats with scarce resources. Females may have the capacity to assess resource quality within a male’s territory and tolerate male polygynous behavior if her chance of reproduction...

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  2. García-Hernández, S., & Machado, G. (2018). Convergent fighting behavior in two species of Neotropical harvestmen (Opiliones): Insights on the evolution of maternal care and resource defense polygyny. Journal of Arachnology, 46(1), 165–169.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and AquacultureMississippi StateUSA

Section editors and affiliations

  • Mystera M. Samuelson
    • 1
  1. 1.The Institute for Marine Mammal StudiesGulfportUSA