Causes and Consequences of Behavioral Interference between Species

Trends Ecol Evol. 2017 Oct;32(10):760-772. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2017.07.004. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Behavioral interference between species, such as territorial aggression, courtship, and mating, is widespread in animals. While aggressive and reproductive forms of interspecific interference have generally been studied separately, their many parallels and connections warrant a unified conceptual approach. Substantial evidence exists that aggressive and reproductive interference have pervasive effects on species coexistence, range limits, and evolutionary processes, including divergent and convergent forms of character displacement. Alien species invasions and climate change-induced range shifts result in novel interspecific interactions, heightening the importance of predicting the consequences of species interactions, and behavioral interference is a fundamental but neglected part of the equation. Here, we outline priorities for further theoretical and empirical research on the ecological and evolutionary consequences of behavioral interference.

Keywords: character displacement; competitive exclusion; interference competition; interspecific aggression; reproductive interference; sexual exclusion.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aggression*
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Climate Change*
  • Competitive Behavior
  • Reproduction
  • Species Specificity