Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

http://link.springer.com/journal/265

List of Papers (Total 258)

Every scar has a story: age and sex-specific conflict rates in wild bottlenose dolphins

Social living brings competition over mates, relationships, and resources, which can translate to direct conflict. In dolphins, tooth rakes received from conspecifics are highly visible and reliable indicators of conflict. New rakes indicate recent conflicts while healed rakes suggest older instances of conflict. Here, we investigate the healing time of conspecific tooth rakes in...

Sperm-limited males continue to mate, but females cannot detect the male state in a parasitoid wasp

Female mating frequency and male ejaculate allocation are likely to interact. Females may adjust their propensity for remating based on the amount of provided sperm to ensure a sufficient sperm supply, and males may determine sperm allocation based on female availability and female mating frequency. In this study, I investigated male and female mating behaviors in the parasitoid...

Long-term individual marking of small freshwater fish: the utility of Visual Implant Elastomer tags

Tracking wild animals over long periods of time is a non-trivial challenge. This has caused a bias in the availability of individual-based long-term datasets with the majority including birds and mammals. Visual Implant Elastomer (VIE) tags are now a widely used technique that may facilitate the collection of such data for fish and amphibians. However, VIE tags might have...

Multiple modalities in insect warning displays have additive effects against wild avian predators

Allocation to different components of defence has been suggested as an explanation for the existence of multiple aposematic morphs in a single population. We tested whether there are trade-offs between warning colouration and chemical defence or whether these have an additive effect when combined, using blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) as predators and the polymorphic wood tiger...

Parental manipulation of offspring size in social groups: a test using paper wasps

Maternal effects should be especially likely when mothers actively provision offspring with resources that influence offspring phenotype. In cooperatively breeding and eusocial taxa, there is potential for parents to strategically manipulate offspring phenotype in their own interests. Social insect queens are nearly always larger than their worker offspring, and queens could...

Foraging guppies can compensate for low-light conditions, but not via a sensory switch

Animals can adapt to changes in their environment through behavioural or developmental plasticity, but studies of these responses tend to focus on either short-term exposure of adults to the changed conditions, or long-term exposure of juveniles. Juvenile guppies Poecilia reticulata reared in low-light environments have previously been shown to make a sensory switch to using...

Nocturnal resting behaviour in urban great tits and its relation to anthropogenic disturbance and microclimate

The ecological novelty of urbanisation poses many challenges to animals. We investigated whether anthropogenic disturbance (artificial light at night and noise) and abiotic factors in cities (temperature and humidity) predict nocturnal activity and rest in free-living urban great tits (Parus major). Our study is the first to relate nocturnal rest in wild birds to levels of noise...

Complex patterns of collective escape in starling flocks under predation

Collective behaviour of animals has been a main focus of recent research, yet few empirical studies deal with this issue in the context of predation, a major driver of social complexity in many animal species. When starling (Sturnus vulgaris) flocks are under attack by a raptor, such as a peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus), they show a great diversity of patterns of collective...

A framework for studying social complexity

Social complexity has been one of the recent emerging topics in the study of animal and human societies, but the concept remains both poorly defined and understood. In this paper, I critically review definitions and studies of social complexity in invertebrate and vertebrate societies, arguing that the concept is being used inconsistently in studies of vertebrate sociality. Group...

Measuring the complexity of social associations using mixture models

We propose a method for examining and measuring the complexity of animal social networks that are characterized using association indices. The method focusses on the diversity of types of dyadic relationship within the social network. Binomial mixture models cluster dyadic relationships into relationship types, and variation in the preponderance and strength of these relationship...

Clarifying and expanding the social complexity hypothesis for communicative complexity

Variation in communicative complexity has been conceptually and empirically attributed to social complexity, with animals living in more complex social environments exhibiting more signals and/or more complex signals than animals living in simpler social environments. As compelling as studies highlighting a link between social and communicative variables are, this hypothesis...

The role of habitat configuration in shaping social structure: a gap in studies of animal social complexity

Animal societies are shaped both by social processes and by the physical environment in which social interactions take place. While many studies take the observed patterns of inter-individual interactions as products and proxies of pure social processes, or as links between resource availability and social structure, the role of the physical configuration of habitat features in...

What constitutes “social complexity” and “social intelligence” in birds? Lessons from ravens

In the last decades, the assumption that complex social life is cognitively challenging, and thus can drive mental evolution, has received much support from empirical studies in nonhuman primates. While extending the scope to other mammals and birds, different views have been adopted on what constitutes social complexity and which specific cognitive skills are selected for...

Social complexity from within: how individuals experience the structure and organization of their groups

We argue that the study of social complexity can follow two different approaches, based on how it is seen from the outside or on how it is experienced from within. Recent focus has been on the former with social complexity emerging from the interactions of group members. Here, we take the view from within and deal with the social complexity that individual group members may...

Social complexity: patterns, processes, and evolution

Animal and human societies exhibit extreme diversity in the size, composition and cohesion of their social units, in the patterning of sex-specific reproductive skew, in the nature of parental care, in the form and frequency of cooperation and in their competitive regime, creating a diversity of socially complex societies. However, there is an ongoing debate about whether social...

The scent of infanticide risk? Behavioural allocation to current and future reproduction in response to mating opportunity and familiarity with intruder

The killing of young by unrelated males is widespread in the animal kingdom. In short-lived small rodents, females can mate immediately after delivery (post-partum oestrus) and invest in future reproduction, but infanticide may put the nestlings, their current reproductive investment, at risk. Here, we investigated the behavioural trade-offs between mating interest and nest...

Parasite infection and host personality: Glugea-infected three-spined sticklebacks are more social

The existence of animal personality is now well-documented, although the causes and consequences of this phenomenon are still largely unclear. Parasite infection can have pervasive effects on hosts, including altering host behaviour, and may thus contribute to differences in host personality. We investigated the relationship between the three-spined stickleback and its common...

Sex differences in life history, behavior, and physiology along a slow-fast continuum: a meta-analysis

The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis predicts that behavior and physiology covary with life history. Evidence for such covariation is contradictory, possibly because systematic sources of variation (e.g. sex) have been neglected. Sexes often experience different selection pressures leading to sex-specific allocation between reproduction and self-maintenance, facilitating...

The role of complex cues in social and reproductive plasticity

Phenotypic plasticity can be a key determinant of fitness. The degree to which the expression of plasticity is adaptive relies upon the accuracy with which information about the state of the environment is integrated. This step might be particularly beneficial when environments, e.g. the social and sexual context, change rapidly. Fluctuating temporal dynamics could increase the...

High level of self-control ability in a small passerine bird

Cognitively advanced animals are usually assumed to possess better self-control, or ability to decline immediate rewards in favour of delayed ones, than less cognitively advanced animals. It has been claimed that the best predictor of high such ability is absolute brain volume meaning that large-brained animals should perform better than small-brained ones. We tested self-control...

Distinguishing between apparent and actual randomness: a preliminary examination with Australian ants

The correlated random walk paradigm is the dominant conceptual framework for modeling animal movement patterns. Nonetheless, we do not know whether the randomness is apparent or actual. Apparent randomness could result from individuals reacting to environmental cues and their internal states in accordance with some set of behavioral rules. Here, we show how apparent randomness...

Predictors of nest growth: diminishing returns for subordinates in the paper wasp Polistes dominula

In cooperative breeders, subordinates that have alternative reproductive options are expected to stay and help dominant breeders only as long as they contribute to group productivity, if their fitness is linked with colony success. Female Polistes dominula paper wasps live as cooperative breeders in small groups of typically fewer than 10 females. Subordinates tend to have high...