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Bang, A., Deshpande, S., Sumana, A., & Gadagkar, R. (2010). Choosing an appropriate index to construct dominance hierarchies in animal societies: a comparison of three indices. Animal Behaviour, 79(3), 631–636.
Abstract: A plethora of indices have been proposed and used to construct dominance hierarchies in a variety of vertebrate and invertebrate societies, although the rationale for choosing a particular index for a particular species is seldom explained. In this study, we analysed and compared three such indices, viz Clutton-Brock et al.'s index (CBI), originally developed for red deer, Cervus elaphus, David's score (DS) originally proposed by the statistician H. A. David and the frequency-based index of dominance (FDI) developed and routinely used by our group for the primitively eusocial wasps Ropalidia marginata and Ropalidia cyathiformis. Dominance ranks attributed by all three indices were strongly and positively correlated for both natural data sets from the wasp colonies and for artificial data sets generated for the purpose. However, the indices differed in their ability to yield unique (untied) ranks in the natural data sets. This appears to be caused by the presence of noninteracting individuals and reversals in the direction of dominance in some of the pairs in the natural data sets. This was confirmed by creating additional artificial data sets with noninteracting individuals and with reversals. Based on the criterion of yielding the largest proportion of unique ranks, we found that FDI is best suited for societies such as the wasps belonging to Ropalidia, DS is best suited for societies with reversals and CBI remains a suitable index for societies such as red deer in which multiple interactions are uncommon.
Keywords: dominance behaviour; dominance hierarchy; dominance index; dominance rank; Ropalidia cyathiformis; Ropalidia marginata; social wasp