Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 231-237

First online:

Sociality or territorial defense? The influence of resource renewal

  • Peter M. WaserAffiliated withDepartment of Biological Sciences, Purdue University

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The rate with which resources in an area recover from local exploitation should influence the costs to an inhabitant of sharing it with neighbors. I develop a model which predicts the costs of tolerating conspecific foragers (or the benefits of excluding them) as a function of a predator's rate of harvesting prey and the prey's renewal rate. The predictions are consistent with patterns of social grouping observed in small African carnivores. A generalization of the model considers alternate forms of resource renewal (logistic, constant, or “exponential”) and suggests that not only the average rate of renewal but also the details of its time course should influence animal spacing patterns.