Larger size and older age confer competitive advantage: dominance hierarchy within European vulture guild

Moreno-Opo, Rubén; Trujillano, Ana; Margalida, Antoni (2020). Larger size and older age confer competitive advantage: dominance hierarchy within European vulture guild. Scientific reports, 10(1) Springer Nature 10.1038/s41598-020-59387-4

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Competition for limiting natural resources generates complex networks of relationships between individuals, both at the intra- and interspecific levels, establishing hierarchical scenarios among different population groups. Within obligate scavengers, and especially in vultures, the coevolutionary mechanisms operating during carrion exploitation are highly specialized and determined in part by agonistic behavior resulting in intra-guild hierarchies. This paper revisits the behavioral and hierarchical organization within the guild of European vultures, on the basis of their agonistic activities during carrion exploitation. We used a dataset distilled from high-quality videorecordings of competitive interactions among the four European vulture species during feeding events. We found a despotic
dominance gradient from the larger species to smaller ones, and from the adults to subadults and juveniles, following an age and body size-based linear pattern. The four studied species, and to some extent age classes, show despotic dominance and organization of their guild exerting differential selection to different parts of the carrion. The abundance of these parts could ultimately condition the level of agonistic interactions. We discuss the behavioral organization and the relationship of hierarchies according to the feeding behavior and prey selection, by comparing with other scavenger guilds.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Conservation Biology

UniBE Contributor:

Margalida, Antoni

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)

ISSN:

2045-2322

Publisher:

Springer Nature

Language:

English

Submitter:

Olivier Roth

Date Deposited:

13 Apr 2021 17:10

Last Modified:

18 Apr 2021 03:02

Publisher DOI:

10.1038/s41598-020-59387-4

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/154275

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/154275

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