Behavioral Ecology

http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org

List of Papers (Total 2,755)

Exploration is dependent on reproductive state, not social state, in a cooperatively breeding bird

Personality is an intriguing phenomenon in populations because it constrains behavioral flexibility. One theory suggests that personality could be generated and maintained if dependent on asset protection. It is predicted that trade-offs with fitness expectations and survival probability encourage consistent behavioral differences among individuals (personality). Although not ...

A bee or not a bee: an experimental test of acoustic mimicry by hoverflies

The degree of similarity between Batesian mimics and their models varies widely and occurs across a range of sensory modalities. We use 3 complementary experimental paradigms to investigate acoustic mimicry in hoverflies (Diptera: Syrphidae), which mimic stinging Hymenoptera. First, we analyze sounds made by 13 hoverfly species and 9 Hymenoptera species with and without simulated ...

The benefits of being toxic to deter predators depends on prey body size

Many prey have evolved toxins as a defense against predation. Those species that advertise their toxicity to would-be predators with conspicuous warning signals are known as “aposematic.” Investment in toxicity by aposematically signaling prey is thought to underpin how aversive prey are to predators; increasing toxicity means that predators learn to avoid prey faster and attack ...

Adult helpers increase the recruitment of closely related offspring in the cooperatively breeding rifleman

Indirect fitness benefits gained through kin-selected helping are widely invoked to explain the evolution of cooperative breeding behavior in birds. However, the impact of helpers on productivity of helped broods can be difficult to determine if the effects are confounded by territory quality or if the benefit of helpers is apparent only in the long term. In riflemen Acanthisitta ...

Dietary carotenoid availability affects avian color discrimination

Carotenoid pigments are found in the retinas of many vertebrate species, where they serve a range of functions. In birds, carotenoid-containing retinal oil droplets act as optical filters, modifying the light reaching the underlying visual pigment and thereby enhancing color vision. Dietary carotenoid manipulation is known to affect the allocation of carotenoids to the retina, ...

Dazzle camouflage, target tracking, and the confusion effect

The influence of coloration on the ecology and evolution of moving animals in groups is poorly understood. Animals in groups benefit from the “confusion effect,” where predator attack success is reduced with increasing group size or density. This is thought to be due to a sensory bottleneck: an increase in the difficulty of tracking one object among many. Motion dazzle camouflage ...

Sexually selected sentinels? Evidence of a role for intrasexual competition in sentinel behavior

Although the evolutionary mechanisms that favor investment in cooperative behaviors have long been a focus of research, comparatively few studies have considered the role that sexual selection may play. For example, evolutionary explanations for sentinel behavior (where 1 individual assumes an elevated position and scans the surroundings while other group members forage nearby) ...

Not leaving home: grandmothers and male dispersal in a duolocal human society

Models suggest that dispersal patterns will influence age- and sex-dependent helping behavior in social species. Duolocal social systems (where neither sex disperses and mating is outside the group) are predicted to be associated with mothers favoring sons over daughters (because the latter are in reproductive competition with each other). Other models predict daughter-biased ...

Maternal age at maturation underpins contrasting behavior in offspring

In species where parental care occurs primarily via the provisioning of eggs, older females tend to produce larger offspring that have better fitness prospects. Remarkably however, a relationship between age of mother and fitness of offspring has also been reported independently of effects on offspring size suggesting that there may be other factors at play. Here, using ...

Shifting song frequencies in response to anthropogenic noise: a meta-analysis on birds and anurans

Anthropogenic noise has been shown to alter the transmission environment and distort acoustic signals, prompting vocalizing species to use compensatory mechanisms. Through a meta-analysis we investigated the relative importance of biological and contextual factors predisposing species to shift their singing/calling frequencies in response to anthropogenic noise. We gathered data ...

Wherever I may roam: social viscosity and kin affiliation in a wild population despite natal dispersal

Dispersal affects the social contexts individuals experience by redistributing individuals in space, and the nature of social interactions can have important fitness consequences. During the vagrancy stage of natal dispersal, after an individual has left its natal site and before it has settled to breed, social affiliations might be predicted by opportunities to associate (e.g., ...

Manipulating carer number versus brood size: complementary but not equivalent ways of quantifying carer effects on offspring

Experiments designed to quantify the effects of increasing numbers of carers on levels of offspring care are rare in cooperative breeding systems, where offspring are reared by individuals additional to the breeding pair. This paucity might stem from disagreement over the most appropriate manipulations necessary to elucidate these effects. Here, we perform both carer removal and ...

Nestling sex and plumage color predict food allocation by barn swallow parents

Despite parents are equally related to all of their progeny, they may differentially invest in offspring that provide the highest fitness return. Sons and daughters can differ in reproductive value, especially in species where fitness is predicted by the expression of sexually selected traits. In many birds, offspring plumage coloration functions as a honest signal of individual ...

Mothers teach daughters because daughters teach granddaughters: the evolution of sex-biased transmission

Cultural transmission in nonhuman animals is often sex biased, with females more frequently or efficiently learning cultural behaviors than males. The evolutionary origins of sex-biased cultural transmission have been a mystery, though it has been proposed that female offspring may gain greater reproductive benefit from cultural traits than sons—the “disparate benefits” hypothesis. ...

Drivers and fitness consequences of dispersive migration in a pelagic seabird

Animals can be flexible in their migration strategies, using several wintering sites or a variety of routes. The mechanisms promoting the development of these migratory patterns and their potential fitness consequences are poorly understood. Here, we address these questions by tracking the dispersive migration of a pelagic seabird, the Atlantic puffin Fratercula arctica, using over ...

Predicting survivors: animal temperament and translocation

Translocation is an important conservation management tool. However, not all individuals are equally suited to translocation, and temperament traits (e.g., boldness, reactivity, exploration, sociability, and aggression) are likely to influence survival in a new environment. A few empirical studies have examined the consequences of personality differences on captive-bred ...