Breed, Michael D. Department of Environmental Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.
Last reviewed:May 2020
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- Dominance and agonistic behavior
- Hierarchies in social insects
- Dominance and mating
- Dominance and feeding
- Genetic factors
- Complex social hierarchies
- Significance of hierarchies
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
A fundamental aspect of social organization that is established by fighting or display behavior and results in a ranking of the animals in a group. Social hierarchies, or dominance hierarchies, are foundational facets of social organization and behavior. They are observed in many different animals, including insects, crustaceans, birds, and mammals (Fig. 1). In many species, size, age, or sex determines dominance rank. Social hierarchies often determine first or best access to food, social interactions, or mating within animal groups or populations. See also: Behavioral ecology; Ethology; Population ecology; Social mammals; Sociobiology
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