It has been shown that avian females such as the black grouse and great snipe are faithful to males and not mating sites. Successful males congregate in the same area as the previous breeding season because it is familiar to them, while females return to reunite with said males. Females do not return to a mating site if their male partner is not present. Another possible explanation for lek stability is from male hierarchies within a lek.
In some species of manakins, subordinate betas may inherit an alpha’s display site, increasing the chances of female visitation. Rank may also contribute to the stability of lek size, as lower ranking males may congregate to achieve a perceived optimal size as a way to attract females. The more males present to give off the pheromone, the stronger the attraction for the females. Males that lose fly away from the lek. Females fly through leks or perch near lekking areas to observe males before making choices on mates and they use the highly conspicuous abdominal spots on males, which are highly variable in size and shape, to aid in mate choice. Males with smaller, more elliptically shaped spots are more dominant over other males and preferred by females compared to males who have larger, more irregularly shaped spots.
7 weeks for a female to approach. If an intruder approaches, the owner of the site lunges and grapples the other wasp. Typically, they fall off the perch site and finish the fight on the ground. File:Paraclusia tigrina — lekking behaviour. The main benefit for both sexes is mating success. For males, the costs stem from females’ preferences. The traits that are selected for may be energetically costly to maintain and may cause increased predation.
For example, increased vocalization rate caused a decrease in the mass of male great snipe. Another cost would be male competition, as females prefer victorious males. Aggressive male black grouse are preferred over non-aggressive males and when the males fight they tear feathers from each other’s tails. At first glance, it would seem that females receive no direct benefits because these males are only contributing genes to the offspring. However, lekking actually reduces the cost of female searching because the congregating of males makes mate selection easier. Females do not have to travel as far, since they are able to evaluate and compare multiple males within the same vicinity.
This may also help reduce the amount of time a female may be vulnerable to predators. A meta analysis of 27 species found that qualities such as lekking size, male display rate, and the rate of male aggression exhibit positive correlation with male success rates. A positive correlation was also found between attendance, magnitude of exaggerated traits, age, frequency of fights, and mating success. This female preference leads to mating skew, with some males being more successful at copulating with females. Many attempts have been made to explain it away, but the paradox remains. There are two conditions in which the lek paradox arises.
The first is that males contribute only genes and the second is that female preference does not affect fecundity. Stronger selection should lead to impaired survival, as it decreases genetic variance and ensures that more offspring have similar traits. However, lekking species do not exhibit runaway selection. In a lekking reproductive system, what male sexual characteristics can signal to females is limited, as the males provide no resources to females or parental care to their offspring. This implies that females gain indirect benefits from her choice in the form of «good genes» for her offspring. One potential resolution to the lek paradox is Rowe and Houle’s theory that sexually selected traits depend on physical condition, which might in turn, summarize many genetic loci.
There are two criteria in the genic capture hypothesis: the first is that sexually selected traits are dependent upon condition and the second is that general condition is attributable to high genetic variance. One resolution to the lek paradox involves female preferences and how preference alone does not cause a drastic enough directional selection to diminish the genetic variance in fitness. Another conclusion is that the preferred trait is not naturally selected for or against and the trait is maintained because it implies increased attractiveness to the male. There have been several hypotheses proposed as to why males cluster into leks. The hotshot hypothesis is the only model that attributes males as the driving force behind aggregation. The hotshot model hypothesizes that attractive males, known as hotshots, garner both female and male attention. Females go to the hotshots because they are attracted to these males. Other males form leks around these hotshots as a way to lure females away from the hotshot. The experiment involved varying the size and sex ratio of leks using decoys. To test whether or not the presence of a hotshot determined lek formation, a hotshot little bustard decoy was placed within a lek.