Resource defense polygyny

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In animal behavior, resource defense polygyny is a mating strategy where a male is able to support multiple female mates by competing with other males for access to a resource.[1][2] In such a system, males are territorial. Because male movement is restricted, female-female competition for a male also results. Males capable of maintaining a larger territory are said to have greater resource holding power.[2] It is one of the three major types of polygyny, the other two being female defense polygyny and leks.[3]


A male yellow headed blackbird surveys his territory.

Resource defense polygyny is a common strategy in insects. For examples, damselflies in the family Calopterygidae typically display resource defense polygyny, in which territorial males guard riverine habitat that is sought after by females for egg deposition. Within a species there may be a territorial and nonterritorial morph.[4][5]

Many bird species also display resource defense polygyny. The yellow headed blackbird is an example, where a male may have multiple females nesting in his territory.[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Resource defense polygyny. Retrieved 2022-03-02. {{cite encyclopedia}}: |work= ignored (help)
  2. ^ a b c Michael D. Breed, Janice Moore (27 December 2021). "Chapter 11 - Mating Systems". Animal Behavior (3rd ed.). Elsevier Science. ISBN 9780128195581. Retrieved 2022-03-02.
  3. ^ Kunz, Thomas H.; Orrell, Kimberly S. (2004-01-01), "Reproduction, Energy Costs of", in Cleveland, Cutler J. (ed.), Encyclopedia of Energy, New York: Elsevier, pp. 423–442, ISBN 978-0-12-176480-7, retrieved 2022-03-03
  4. ^ Córdoba-Aguilar, Alejandro; Cordero-Rivera, Adolfo (Dec 2005). "Evolution and ecology of Calopterygidae (Zygoptera: Odonata): status of knowledge and research perspectives". Neotropical Entomology. 34 (6): 861–879. doi:10.1590/S1519-566X2005000600001. ISSN 1519-566X.
  5. ^ Thornhill, Randy; Alcock, John (1983-12-31). The Evolution of Insect Mating Systems. Harvard University Press. doi:10.4159/harvard.9780674433960. ISBN 978-0-674-43395-3.