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Effects of age and experience on contest behavior in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides.

Lee VE, Head ML, Carter MJ, Royle NJ - Behav. Ecol. (2013)

Bottom Line: We found that social experience, but not age, influenced male contest behavior but that these changes in behavior did not alter contest outcomes.Male size (relative to his opponent) was overwhelmingly the most important factor determining contest outcome.Our results suggest that in systems with high variation in fighting ability among males, there may be little opportunity for selection to act on factors that influence contest outcomes by altering motivation to win.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: aCentre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus , Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ , UK and.

ABSTRACT
Contest behavior forms an important part of reproductive investment. Life-history theory predicts that as individuals age and their residual reproductive value decreases, they should increase investment in contest behavior. However, other factors such as social experience may also be important in determining age-related variation in contest behavior. To understand how selection acts on contest behavior over an individual's lifetime, it is therefore important to tease apart the effects of age per se from other factors that may vary with age. Here, we independently manipulate male age and social experience to examine their effects on male contest behavior in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. We found that social experience, but not age, influenced male contest behavior but that these changes in behavior did not alter contest outcomes. Male size (relative to his opponent) was overwhelmingly the most important factor determining contest outcome. Our results suggest that in systems with high variation in fighting ability among males, there may be little opportunity for selection to act on factors that influence contest outcomes by altering motivation to win.

No MeSH data available.


Logistic relationships showing the effect of relative pronotum width ([focal male – opponent]/focal male) on contest outcome. (A) A male’s first contest and (B) a male’s second contest. Mean ± standard error.
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Figure 3: Logistic relationships showing the effect of relative pronotum width ([focal male – opponent]/focal male) on contest outcome. (A) A male’s first contest and (B) a male’s second contest. Mean ± standard error.

Mentions: Male relative size was the only term in our model that had a significant effect on the outcome of a male’s first contest (χ2(1,72) = 13.178, P < 0.001 (Figure 3a). Neither male age nor social experience had significant main effects on the outcome of a male’s first contest (male age: χ2(1,70) < 0.006, P = 0.939; social experience: χ2(1,71) = 1.533, P = 0.216), nor did they influence contest outcome through any interaction effects (all interactions removed from the model at P > 0.163).


Effects of age and experience on contest behavior in the burying beetle, Nicrophorus vespilloides.

Lee VE, Head ML, Carter MJ, Royle NJ - Behav. Ecol. (2013)

Logistic relationships showing the effect of relative pronotum width ([focal male – opponent]/focal male) on contest outcome. (A) A male’s first contest and (B) a male’s second contest. Mean ± standard error.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License 1 - License 2
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC3860834&req=5

Figure 3: Logistic relationships showing the effect of relative pronotum width ([focal male – opponent]/focal male) on contest outcome. (A) A male’s first contest and (B) a male’s second contest. Mean ± standard error.
Mentions: Male relative size was the only term in our model that had a significant effect on the outcome of a male’s first contest (χ2(1,72) = 13.178, P < 0.001 (Figure 3a). Neither male age nor social experience had significant main effects on the outcome of a male’s first contest (male age: χ2(1,70) < 0.006, P = 0.939; social experience: χ2(1,71) = 1.533, P = 0.216), nor did they influence contest outcome through any interaction effects (all interactions removed from the model at P > 0.163).

Bottom Line: We found that social experience, but not age, influenced male contest behavior but that these changes in behavior did not alter contest outcomes.Male size (relative to his opponent) was overwhelmingly the most important factor determining contest outcome.Our results suggest that in systems with high variation in fighting ability among males, there may be little opportunity for selection to act on factors that influence contest outcomes by altering motivation to win.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: aCentre for Ecology and Conservation, College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus , Treliever Road, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ , UK and.

ABSTRACT
Contest behavior forms an important part of reproductive investment. Life-history theory predicts that as individuals age and their residual reproductive value decreases, they should increase investment in contest behavior. However, other factors such as social experience may also be important in determining age-related variation in contest behavior. To understand how selection acts on contest behavior over an individual's lifetime, it is therefore important to tease apart the effects of age per se from other factors that may vary with age. Here, we independently manipulate male age and social experience to examine their effects on male contest behavior in the burying beetle Nicrophorus vespilloides. We found that social experience, but not age, influenced male contest behavior but that these changes in behavior did not alter contest outcomes. Male size (relative to his opponent) was overwhelmingly the most important factor determining contest outcome. Our results suggest that in systems with high variation in fighting ability among males, there may be little opportunity for selection to act on factors that influence contest outcomes by altering motivation to win.

No MeSH data available.