Foraging, Social Dispersion and Mating Systems
This chapter deals with mammals for which, with the exception of a few primates, male parental care is not an important component in mate choice. Mating systems can be broadly classified into several general categories. The first is called “resource defense” and is characterized by the establishment of territories by males over patches of resources required by females. A second system, “female defense,” arises when females form groups, usually for reasons extrinsic to males, and subsets of the male population join each group and prevent other males from gaining access to the females. The adaptive value to females of residing in a particular harem was made more clear by comparing the dispersion of the bats on the foraging grounds to their social affilitations at the day roost. The spatial parameters describing the distributions of insect prey, and the underlying plant or aquatic structures leading to the distributions, are different for these three foraging habitats.