Role of male dispersal in the evolution of female altruistic behavior in viscous populations

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A computer simulation was conducted to examine the effect of differential dispersal of sexes on the evolution of altruism in viscous populations. First, a basic model, which was regarded as a purely viscous population model, was constructed. The model was assumed to be the same as the simulation model of Wilson et al. (1992), except that it assumed sexual reproduction and that only females show altruistic behavior toward females. For the basic model, altruism could not evolve when b/N ≤ c, where b is the benefit of the altruism to the recipient, c is the cost to the altruist, and N is the number of interacting neighbors. The male dispersal model I assumed that females disperse to nine neighboring sites including the natal site, but males disperse to eight sites farther than females do. For this model, altruistic alleles could evolve when b/N was equal to c or b/N was slightly smaller than c only when the male dispersal distance was slightly larger than those of females. The male dispersal model II assumed that the male dispersal distance follows a normal probability distribution. The Vole model was based on actual data of the gray-sided vole, Clethironomys rufocanus bedfordiae, whose frequency distribution of dispersal distance was similar to a normal distribution. For these models, altruism could evolve under the condition that b/N was slightly smaller than c when the dispersal distances of males were larger than those of females. The results indicate that the differential dispersal of sexes, in which females are philopatric and males disperse farther than females, can somewhat increase the probability of spreading altruistic alleles in viscous populations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)367-375
Number of pages9
JournalEcological Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1998 Dec


  • Altruism
  • Dispersal
  • Group selection
  • Kin selection
  • Viscous population
  • Vole


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