In sociobiology and behavioural ecology, the term mating system is used to describe the ways in which animal societies are structured in relation to sexual behaviour. The mating system specifies which males mate with which females, and under what circumstances.
The following are some of the mating systems generally recognised in humans and other animals:
- Monogamy: Two individuals have an exclusive mating relationship.
- Polygamy: A single individual concurrently carries a relationship/mates with one or more of the opposite sex. Three types are recognized:
- Polygyny (the most common polygamous mating system in vertebrates so far studied): One male has an exclusive relationship with two or more females.
- Polyandry: One female has an exclusive relationship with two or more males.
- Polygynandry: Two or more individuals have an exclusive relationship with two or more individuals from the opposite sex; the numbers of males and females need not be equal, and in vertebrate species studied so far, there are usually fewer males.
- Promiscuity: Any male and female will mate within the social group.
Read more about this topic: Animal Sexual Behaviour
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