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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.


The effects of first contest outcome and social experience treatment on male encounter rate during a male’s second contest. Light bars represent males with prior social experience and dark bars represent naive males. Mean ± S.E.
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Figure 4: The effects of first contest outcome and social experience treatment on male encounter rate during a male’s second contest. Light bars represent males with prior social experience and dark bars represent naive males. Mean ± S.E.

Mentions: Male contest behavior in the second contest was, however, influenced by the outcome of a male’s first contest and by prior social experience. These factors interact to influence male encounter rate (interaction: F(1,66) = 5.522, P = 0.022; fight 1 outcome: F(1,66) = 3.986, P = 0.050; social experience: F(1,66) = 4.366, P = 0.041) and similar to results from a males first contest, do not influence male aggression. Experienced males that won their first contest had lower encounter rates than experienced males that had lost their first contest, whereas for naive males, there was no difference in behavior whether they won or lost their first contest (Figure 4). For male encounter rate, all other terms were dropped from the model (all P > 0.176). For male aggression, all terms were dropped from our final model (all P > 0.154) leaving only the intercept.


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)

The effects of first contest outcome and social experience treatment on male encounter rate during a male’s second contest. Light bars represent males with prior social experience and dark bars represent naive males. Mean ± S.E.
© Copyright Policy - creative-commons
Related In: Results  -  Collection

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

Figure 4: The effects of first contest outcome and social experience treatment on male encounter rate during a male’s second contest. Light bars represent males with prior social experience and dark bars represent naive males. Mean ± S.E.
Mentions: Male contest behavior in the second contest was, however, influenced by the outcome of a male’s first contest and by prior social experience. These factors interact to influence male encounter rate (interaction: F(1,66) = 5.522, P = 0.022; fight 1 outcome: F(1,66) = 3.986, P = 0.050; social experience: F(1,66) = 4.366, P = 0.041) and similar to results from a males first contest, do not influence male aggression. Experienced males that won their first contest had lower encounter rates than experienced males that had lost their first contest, whereas for naive males, there was no difference in behavior whether they won or lost their first contest (Figure 4). For male encounter rate, all other terms were dropped from the model (all P > 0.176). For male aggression, all terms were dropped from our final model (all P > 0.154) leaving only the intercept.

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.