Evolutionary games of cyclic competitions have been extensively studied to gain insights into one of the most fundamental phenomena in nature: biodiversity that seems to be excluded by the principle of natural selection. The Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) game of three species and its extensions [e.g., the Rock-Paper-Scissors-Lizard-Spock (RPSLS) game] are paradigmatic models in this field. In all previous studies, the intrinsic symmetry associated with cyclic competitions imposes a limitation on the resulting coexistence states, leading to only selective types of such states. We investigate the effect of nonuniform intraspecific competitions on coexistence and find that a wider spectrum of coexistence states can emerge and persist. This surprising finding is substantiated using three classes of cyclic game models through stability analysis, Monte Carlo simulations and continuous spatiotemporal dynamical evolution from partial differential equations. Our finding indicates that intraspecific competitions or alternative symmetry-breaking mechanisms can promote biodiversity to a broader extent than previously thought.
ASJC Scopus subject areas