Theoretical research on evolutionary aspects of territoriality has a long history. Existing studies, however, differ widely in modelling approach and research question. A generalized view on the evolution of territoriality is accordingly still missing. In this review, we show that territorial conflicts can be classified into qualitatively distinct types according to what mode of access to a territory which competitor attempts to gain. We argue that many of the inconsistencies between existing studies can be traced back to the fact that, while using the same terminology, different instances of these types of conflicts have been investigated. We discuss the connections of each type of conflict to existing research within the wider area of animal conflicts. We conclude that a clear conceptual separation of different types of territorial conflicts is helpful but that a more general theory of territoriality has to account for interdependencies between them and that a more mechanistic approach to modelling territoriality is needed.
- Received October 27, 2016.
- Accepted February 1, 2017.
- © 2017 The Author(s)
Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.