Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 55, Issue 4, pp 325–331 | Cite as

Effects of kinship on territorial conflicts among groups of lions, Panthera leo

Original Article


Inclusive fitness theory predicts that cost of tolerant behaviour during competitive interactions is lower for relatives than for nonrelatives. Many studies have examined the effect of relatedness on behaviour within social groups. In contrast, kin selection acting among groups has received less attention. The genetic structure of African lion (Panthera leo) populations creates a strong possibility that kin selection among groups modifies behaviour during group conflicts. We used playback experiments and genetic data to investigate the importance of relatedness during simulated territorial disputes in lions. However, we found no effect of relatedness on territorial behaviour. Degree of relatedness did not affect the decision to approach simulated intrusions, nor did it affect the behaviour during approaches. The decision to approach was instead affected by position within the territory and consecutive playback number (a measure of habituation). For playbacks that did elicit an approach, the speed of response was not detectably affected by relatedness, but was affected by odds (the ratio of residents to intruders), number of intruders, number of bouts, presence of cubs, position within the territory, temperature and playback number. Although responses were unaffected by relatedness, it remains possible that other aspects of behaviour during natural encounters among prides are affected by kin selection.


Inter-group competition Group living Kin selection Panthera leo Territoriality 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal Ecology, Evolutionary Biology CentreUppsala UniversityUppsalaSweden
  2. 2.Department of EcologyMontana State UniversityBozemanUSA
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK

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