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Table 3 A general classification of mating system variation with an emphasis on territory defence if it sometimes occurs in a particular mating system [2].

From: Integrating resource defence theory with a neural nonapeptide pathway to explain territory-based mating systems

Mating system Description
Promiscuity Individuals mate with multiple members of the opposite sex, sometimes indiscriminately. Typically there is no pair bonding. Individual home ranges overlap with those of same sex and those of the opposite sex [171,172].
Polygamy Ongoing mating with a group of multiple mates. Can be subdivided into polygyny and polyandry, depending on which sex is polygamous (2,131,171,172).
Polygyny A type of polygamy in which one male mates with multiple females. In territorial polygynous systems, each male holds a territory from which other breeding males are typically excluded, and which contains the territories or home ranges of females. The males’ territories do not overlap with the territories of other males, and the female territories only overlap with the territory of a single male. Males may mate with the same females in successive mating attempts [171]. Social relationships apparently exist between a territorial male and each female, but they do not spend as much time in coordinated activities as do monogamous pairs. Relatively common [2,172].
Polyandry A type of polygamy in which one female mates with multiple males for successive breeding attempts. Relatively rare compared to polygyny [2,171].
Polygynandry Members of each sex mate with multiple partners. Not tied to resource defence. Often used instead of “Promiscuity” to distinguish species that do not mate indiscriminately, but may or may not involve ongoing relationships (see “Lek,” below).
Lek A type of polygyny or polygynandry[173] in which males form aggregations of small display territories and compete for dominant status during breeding season and females choose among them. Males do not contribute resources or parental care; females visit briefly only to have their eggs fertilized. There are no social bonds [171,174].
Monogamy A female and a male form a social bond, often mutually defend a territory, and often cooperate to care for their offspring. Environmental constraints prevent either sex from monopolizing more than one member of the opposite sex. Adults remain in close proximity to each other. May be serial, with partners changing with each breeding attempt, or long-term [171,172].