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Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

Palmyre H Boucherie, Matthias-Claudio Loretto, Jorg J M Massen, Thomas Bugnyar
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. Notably, many avian species form "open" groups as non-breeders (i.e., seasonally and before sexual maturity) that have been largely ignored as potential sources of social complexity...
2019: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
R F Storms, C Carere, F Zoratto, C K Hemelrijk
Abstract: 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 escape. The corresponding structural complexity concerns rapid variation in density and shape of the flock over time...
2019: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Christelle Couchoux, Jeremy Field
Abstract: 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 benefit by producing small daughter workers in several ways. If queens use aggression to dominate or coerce workers, a queen producing small workers might minimize potential conflict or competition from her offspring...
2019: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Christopher M Jernigan, Justas Birgiolas, Cora McHugh, David W Roubik, William T Wcislo, Brian H Smith
In ants, bees, and other social Hymenoptera alarm pheromones are widely employed to coordinate colony nest defense. In that context, alarm pheromones elicit innate species-specific defensive behaviors. Therefore, in terms of classical conditioning, an alarm pheromone could act as an unconditioned stimulus (US). Here we test this hypothesis by establishing whether repeated exposure to alarm pheromone in different testing contexts modifies the alarm response. We evaluate colony level alarm responses in the stingless bee, Tetragonisca angustula , which has a morphologically distinct guard caste...
March 2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Sonny S Bleicher, Hannu Ylönen, Teemu Käpylä, Marko Haapakoski
Abstract: Prey strategically respond to the risk of predation by varying their behavior while balancing the tradeoffs of food and safety. We present here an experiment that tests the way the same indirect cues of predation risk are interpreted by bank voles, Myodes glareolus , as the game changes through exposure to a caged weasel. Using optimal patch use, we asked wild-caught voles to rank the risk they perceived. We measured their response to olfactory cues in the form of weasel bedding, a sham control in the form of rabbit bedding, and an odor-free control...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
J A Eccard, D Reil, R Folkertsma, A Schirmer
Abstract: 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 protection in an arena experiment with bank voles ( Myodes glareolus ). Non-gravid females ( n  = 33) were housed at one end of a large structured arena with their nestlings...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Irina Petkova, Robin N Abbey-Lee, Hanne Løvlie
Abstract: 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 parasite Glugea anomala , with focus on differences in host personality. Naturally infected and uninfected individuals were assayed for the five personality traits activity, exploration, boldness, sociability, and aggression...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Josefina Zidar, Alexandra Balogh, Anna Favati, Per Jensen, Olof Leimar, Enrico Sorato, Hanne Løvlie
Abstract: Cognition is fundamental to animals' lives and an important source of phenotypic variation. Nevertheless, research on individual variation in animal cognition is still limited. Further, although individual cognitive abilities have been suggested to be linked to personality (i.e., consistent behavioral differences among individuals), few studies have linked performance across multiple cognitive tasks to personality traits. Thus, the interplays between cognition and personality are still unclear...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Maja Tarka, Anja Guenther, Petri T Niemelä, Shinichi Nakagawa, Daniel W A Noble
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 divergence in life-history. Sex-specific differences in means and possibly variances may therefore play a key role in the POLS framework...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Lukas Landler, Graeme D Ruxton, E Pascal Malkemper
Circular data are common in biological studies. The most fundamental question that can be asked of a sample of circular data is whether it suggests that the underlying population is uniformly distributed around the circle, or whether it is concentrated around at least one preferred direction (e.g. a migratory goal or activity phase). We compared the statistical power of five commonly used tests (the Rayleigh test, the V-test, Watson's test, Kuiper's test and Rao's spacing test) across a range of different unimodal scenarios...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Alice A Dore, Laurin McDowall, James Rouse, Amanda Bretman, Matthew J G Gage, Tracey Chapman
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 difficulty of determining the appropriate level of expression of a plastic response. In this review, we suggest that new insights into plastic responses to the social and sexual environment (social and reproductive plasticity) may be gained by examining the role of complex cues (those comprising multiple, distinct sensory components)...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Emil Isaksson, A Utku Urhan, Anders Brodin
Abstract: 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 ability in the great tit, a small passerine. In the common test of this ability, the animal is presented with a transparent cylinder that contains a piece of food...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Mst Jannatul Ferdous, Andy M Reynolds, Ken Cheng
Abstract: 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 can result from one simple kind of algorithmic response to environmental cues. This results in an exponential step-length distribution in homogeneous environments and in generalized stretched exponential step-length distributions in more complex fractal environments...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Lena Grinsted, Jeremy Field
Abstract: 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-quality outside options, and so could choose alternative breeding tactics if their work efforts increased productivity negligibly...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Andrew Whiten, Erica van de Waal
In recent decades, an accelerating research effort has exploited a substantial diversity of methodologies to garner mounting evidence for social learning and culture in many species of primate. As in humans, the evidence suggests that the juvenile phases of non-human primates' lives represent a period of particular intensity in adaptive learning from others, yet the relevant research remains scattered in the literature. Accordingly, we here offer what we believe to be the first substantial collation and review of this body of work and its implications for the lifetime behavioral ecology of primates...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Brigitte M Weiß, Marlen Kücklich, Ruth Thomsen, Stefanie Henkel, Susann Jänig, Lars Kulik, Claudia Birkemeyer, Anja Widdig
Abstract: Scents play an important role in the life of most terrestrial mammals and may transmit valuable information about conspecifics. Olfaction was long considered of low importance in Old World monkeys due to their relative reduction of olfactory structures and low incidence of scent-marking behavior but has been increasingly recognized for mediating social relationships in recent years. Yet, studies investigating the composition of their chemical cues remain scarce. In the present study, we analyzed the potential information content of chemicals present on the skin of rhesus macaques ( Macaca mulatta )...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Elina Immonen, Anni Hämäläinen, Wiebke Schuett, Maja Tarka
Sex differences in life history, physiology, and behavior are nearly ubiquitous across taxa, owing to sex-specific selection that arises from different reproductive strategies of the sexes. The pace-of-life syndrome (POLS) hypothesis predicts that most variation in such traits among individuals, populations, and species falls along a slow-fast pace-of-life continuum. As a result of their different reproductive roles and environment, the sexes also commonly differ in pace-of-life, with important consequences for the evolution of POLS...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
P J Davison, J Field
Abstract: Eusociality is characterised by a reproductive division of labour, where some individuals forgo direct reproduction to instead help raise kin. Socially polymorphic sweat bees are ideal models for addressing the mechanisms underlying the transition from solitary living to eusociality, because different individuals in the same species can express either eusocial or solitary behaviour. A key question is whether alternative social phenotypes represent environmentally induced plasticity or predominantly genetic differentiation between populations...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Christoph M Meier, Hakan Karaardıç, Raül Aymí, Strahil G Peev, Erich Bächler, Roger Weber, Willem Witvliet, Felix Liechti
Abstract: Studying individual flight behaviour throughout the year is indispensable to understand the ecology of a bird species. Recent development in technology allows now to track flight behaviour of small long-distance bird migrants throughout its annual cycle. The specific flight behaviour of twilight ascents in birds has been documented in a few studies, but only during a short period of the year, and never quantified on the individual level. It has been suggested that twilight ascents might be a role in orientation and navigation...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
B Irene Tieleman
This article provides a brief historical perspective on the integration of physiology into the concept of the pace of life of birds, evaluates the fit of immune function into this framework, and asks what it will take to fruitfully understand immune functioning of birds in pace of life studies in the future. In the late 1970s, physiology started to seriously enter avian life history ecology, with energy as the main currency of interest, inspired by David Lack's work in the preceding decades emphasizing how food availability explained life history variation...
2018: Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
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