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Data from: Selfish partners: resource partitioning in male coalitions of Asiatic lions

Cite this dataset

Chakrabarti, Stotra; Jhala, Yadvendradev V. (2017). Data from: Selfish partners: resource partitioning in male coalitions of Asiatic lions [Dataset]. Dryad.


Behavioral plasticity within species is adaptive which directs survival traits to take multiple pathways under varying conditions. Male-male cooperation is an evolutionary strategy often exhibiting an array of alternatives between and within species. African male lions coalesce to safeguard territories and mate-acquisition. Unique to these coalitions is lack of strict hierarchies between partners, who have similar resource-securities possibly because of many mating-opportunities within large female-groups. Skewed mating and feeding rights have only been documented in large coalitions where males were related. However, smaller modal prey coupled with less simultaneous mating-opportunities for male Asiatic lions in Gir forests, India would likely result in a different coalition-structure. Observations on mating-events (n=127) and feeding-incidents (n=44) were made on 11 male-coalitions and 9 female-prides in Gir, to assess resource distribution within- and among- different sized male-coalitions. Information from 39 males were used to estimate annual tenure-holding probabilities. Single-males had smaller tenures and appropriated fewer matings than coalition-males. Pronounced dominance-hierarchies were observed within coalitions, with one partner getting >70% of all matings and 47% more food. Competition between coalition-partners at kills increased with decline in prey-size, increase in coalition-size and the appetite-states of the males. However, immediate subordinates in coalitions had higher reproductive fitness than single-males. Declining benefits to partners with increasing coalition-size, with individuals below the immediate subordinates having fitness comparable to single-males, suggest to an optimal coalition-size of two lions. Lions under higher competitive selection in Gir show behavioral plasticity to form hierarchical-coalitions, wherein partners utilize resources asymmetrically, yet coalesce for personal gains.

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National Science Foundation, Award: NA