Authors:Lysanne Snijders; Marc Naguib Abstract: Publication date: Available online 9 March 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Lysanne Snijders, Marc Naguib Animal social networks and animal communication networks are key disciplines for understanding animal social behavior, yet these disciplines remain poorly integrated. In this review, we show how communication and social networks are inherently linked, with social signals reflecting and affecting social networks. Signals carry key information on the quality and direction of social connections and reveal social connections over long distances. Moreover, social signals can directly affect proximity among conspecifics, by facilitating social attraction and repulsion. Social signals thus mediate many of the social networks we observe. Throughout, we discuss a broad range of signal types and interactions, yet with a focus on acoustic signals and show how they reflect and affect social relationships. With this review we aim to inspire further integration of the social network and communication network disciplines, expecting that it will lead to new insights into the dynamics and evolution of animal social behavior.
Authors:C. Michael Bull; Michael G. Gardner; Andrew Sih; Orr Spiegel; Stephanie S. Godfrey; Stephan T. Leu Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 March 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): C. Michael Bull, Michael G. Gardner, Andrew Sih, Orr Spiegel, Stephanie S. Godfrey, Stephan T. Leu We report on 35years of research into behavior and ecology of the Australian sleepy lizard, Tiliqua rugosa. We describe the unusually long monogamous pairing period in this lizard before mating takes place each spring, and the long-term persistence of mating pairs, reforming each spring for up to 27years. We review hypotheses, observations, and experiments and conclude that females drive the pairing, becoming more receptive to males that have provided prolonged attention, because of the advantages they gain through greater awareness of approaching danger. We suggest that long-term pair fidelity has resulted from a higher reproductive efficiency between familiar partners. We then consider the broader social network structure in the sleepy lizard population, suggesting from our analyses that lizards make more contacts with their neighbors, sometimes agonistically, than if they were moving at random. There are few kin-based associations in the networks, but lizards with different personality types have different network positions. The broad social structure of the population is robust to ecological and environmental changes, although various network parameters are adjusted with different climate or habitat conditions. The overall social structure of the sleepy lizard population has an important role in transmission of parasites and pathogens. Finally we consider why this species is one of the very few reptiles for which stable social living has been reported. This may be because reptile social living is relatively under studied. Alternatively, we suggest, many reptile species may be constrained from evolving social structures, because they lack either the necessary cognitive ability or a strong defense against the high risk of pathogen transmission that comes from social living.
Authors:Allison H. Hahn; Jenna V. Congdon; Kimberley A. Campbell; Erin N. Scully; Neil McMillan; Christopher B. Sturdy Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 March 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Allison H. Hahn, Jenna V. Congdon, Kimberley A. Campbell, Erin N. Scully, Neil McMillan, Christopher B. Sturdy In this review, we summarize studies using approaches from the fields of comparative cognition and behavioral ecology to further our understanding of communication and behavior, as well as cognition and perception. We focus on studies examining one species of songbird, black-capped chickadees (Poecile atricapillus). Black-capped chickadees have an extensive repertoire including tseet calls, gargle calls, chick-a-dee calls, and fee-bee songs that birds produce in numerous contexts. Both songs and calls are learned in this species and other chickadee species produce similar, but acoustically distinct vocalizations, allowing researchers to compare the vocal production and perception of phylogenetically close chickadee species. We discuss studies spanning both laboratory and field research utilizing techniques such as operant conditioning, developmental biology, behavioral neuroscience, and bioacoustics. Taken together, the results of these studies provide a deeper understanding into songbirds in general, and chickadees in particular, and the synthesis of work using approaches from the fields of comparative cognition and behavioral ecology will inform and inspire future integrative research in communication and cognition.
Authors:Tracy Langkilde; Christopher J. Thawley; Travis R. Robbins Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 February 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Tracy Langkilde, Christopher J. Thawley, Travis R. Robbins Invasive species are a major conservation concern but provide an opportunity to examine the mechanisms and consequences of behavioral adaptation. Invasive species can act as novel predators, prey, and competitors; impose stress on species they encounter; and alter habitats. Behavior is often plastic and therefore is one of the first traits to respond to environmental perturbations. Here we illustrate behavioral adaptations to invasive species, primarily using a system of invasive fire ants that act as a novel predator on and prey for a native lizard and placing this in the context of other research. We show that behavioral adaptations to invasive species can increase fitness in the face of associated challenges and opportunities, but can expose adapted individuals to new pressures or maladapt them to previously existing selective pressures. As a result, behavioral adaptations to invasive species can be associated with changes in other traits, such as morphology or physiology, that either enhance the effectiveness of the behavior itself or increase fitness in the face of new pressures caused by the altered behavior.
Authors:Barbara Taborsky Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 February 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Barbara Taborsky The environment experienced early in life can shape phenotypes lifelong, sometimes inducing major phenotypic change of key life history traits or behavioral strategies. Such lasting effects of developmental plasticity impact Darwinian fitness and should be subject to selection. Nevertheless, the adaptive value of developmental plasticity is still subject to ongoing debate. One key problem hampering the understanding of developmental plasticity is that its mechanisms and function are mostly studied in simple laboratory environments testing for the effects of only a single environmental factor during a single ontogenetic period. However, most natural environments are multidimensional and complex and environmental influences affect development at multiple ontogenetic stages. In the past years, a number of theoretical and experimental studies emerged, which address effects of more natural levels of environmental complexity. After a general introduction into theoretical and experimental approaches to the study of developmental plasticity, I review the main theoretical insights from these models and contrast them with experimental results obtained from long-lived vertebrates, to illustrate how incorporating natural levels of complexity can improve our understanding of phenotypic development. The review centers around two main questions: (1) When should environmental information influencing development be obtained and when is this information beneficial? (2) How is information obtained during multiple life stages or from multiple environmental parameters integrated during phenotypic development? Theoretical results about the temporal patterns of the use of environmental information and the integration of cues from different sources emphasize the importance of environmental predictability, reliability, and the value of information. The experimental evidence illustrates the necessity to evaluate fitness across the entire life of long-lived species, if we aim to test predictions from evolutionary models. Moreover, it suggests that we need models incorporating more of the complexities of “real life,” such as interactive effects of environmental components, or a deviation from simplistic assumptions about the temporal pattern of environmental predictability.
Authors:Marie E. Herberstein; Christina J. Painting; Gregory I. Holwell Abstract: Publication date: Available online 6 February 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Marie E. Herberstein, Christina J. Painting, Gregory I. Holwell Mating systems describe the usual number of mating partners, patterns of mate location, and patterns of parental care in populations and species. While most types of mating systems can be found in arthropods, scramble competition polygyny is likely to be very common based on the ecology of many insects and spiders. In this review we focus on terrestrial arthropods and assess how common this mating system is and discuss the behaviors and ecologies of populations that are likely to result in scramble competition. A particular interest is those systems where the wrong mate choice can carry significant costs for the male, such as through deception or sexual cannibalism. We conclude our review with future direction for research in scramble competition polygyny.
Authors:Nick J. Royle; Paul E. Hopwood Abstract: Publication date: Available online 11 January 2017 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): Nick J. Royle, Paul E. Hopwood Among-individual variation in behavioral plasticity—the modification of behavior in response to changes in environment experienced by individuals—is increasingly recognized as an important, but relatively poorly understood, feature of organisms that facilitates adaptation to environmental change. It is expected to evolve when there is rapidly fluctuating or directional environmental change during the lifetime of individuals. This is particularly likely to occur in the context of reproductive behaviors, when the outcomes of unpredictable social interactions with other individuals during mating and parental care determine how selection acts on males and females and mating systems evolve. To better understand patterns of mating and parental care and organismal adaptation to environmental change, we need to know why there is so much variation in behavioral plasticity between and within species. Here we address this question using burying beetles as a model. Burying beetles have unusually variable, facultatively expressed, modes of parental care and variation between the sexes and among individuals in the plasticity of reproductive behaviors. We present evidence to show that variation in male plasticity of mating behavior is a key driver of the evolution of patterns of parental care in Nicrophorus vespilloides burying beetles. More generally, we conclude that behavioral plasticity in burying beetles, and likely other taxa, has evolved as a consequence of a resource requirement bottle-neck (niche specialization) in combination with highly unpredictable availability of such suitable resources and the social unpredictability that arises as a result: constraint is the mother of plastic invention.
Authors:Jensen Abstract: Publication date: Available online 28 April 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): K. Jensen The problem of cooperation has long been a central issue in evolutionary biology and psychology, although these disciplines approach the problem from different directions. In little over a decade, there have been great advances in experiments that bridge the psychological and evolutionary domains. By testing nonhuman primates, this work is trying to determine the phylogenetic roots of human sociality and the cognitive structures that scaffold this transition. In trying to understand prosocial behavior which is motivated for the welfare of others, researchers need to be aware of look-alikes. There are numerous examples of behaviors that appear prosocial, but are performed for the actor's benefit with any benefits to others arising as unintended by-products. Observations of natural behavior are suggestive, but experiments are needed to tease apart the alternative explanations. Even with experiments, it is challenging to interpret the findings. In this review, I critically discuss the experimental studies that have been designed to test for prosocial behavior in nonhuman primates. It is too early to conclude from these studies that chimpanzees and other nonhuman primates share with humans the motivation to share and help. Humans may be the only prosocial primate.
Authors:G.L. Patricelli; A.H. Krakauer C.C. Taff Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 April 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): G.L. Patricelli, A.H. Krakauer, C.C. Taff Sexually selected display traits—whether they are color patches, songs, dances, or scents—typically vary over time and space, either due to changes in how those traits are perceived or due to changes in the source signal per se. Despite this variability, models of sexual selection typically characterize signalers with a single trait value. Thus, when variation in display traits is detected in empirical studies, it is often viewed as noise with little significance in communication, except in making traits more difficult to assess. This null hypothesis may be valid in some cases; however, studies are increasingly finding that variation in display traits may be the result of adaptive plasticity in display behaviors, and that this plasticity may have important implications for mate choice. Here we present a framework of alternative hypotheses to explain selective factors favoring variability in individual display traits—that variability is an indicator of current condition, a consequence of display refinement, or a reflection of adaptive plasticity in response to the social and environmental context of courtship to reduce their costs and maximize their benefits. We discuss predictions of these hypotheses and how they may be tested. Further, we discuss the implications of within-individual variability on selection for traits and preferences and the importance of considering the temporal scales over which courtship occurs. We conclude by identifying promising areas for theoretical development. By examining the causes and consequences of variation in display traits within individuals, we will gain a greater understanding of the scope of natural and sexual selection in shaping the diversity and complexity of sexual signals and signaling behaviors.
Authors:A.S. Griffin; Guez Abstract: Publication date: Available online 8 March 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): A.S. Griffin, D. Guez Behavioral innovations, the invention of new behaviors or the use of preexisting ones in new contexts, are increasingly considered an essential source of behavioral plasticity, yet the mechanisms by which they arise are poorly understood. In recent years, much emphasis has been placed on the role of cognition. Here, we review briefly key findings from large-scale comparative research and, in more detail, those from experimental work on innovation. We draw attention to the high degree of inconsistency among empirical findings relating interindividual variation in innovativeness to interindividual variation in learning performance. We go on to propose a model that reconciles the possible (but perhaps controversial) existence of positive associations between cognition and innovation at the cross-taxon level with inconsistent associations at the within-species level. A key component of the model is the possibility that the association between cognition (ie, brain size) and innovativeness is not causal. Rather, it arises as a consequence of correlated evolution because both cognition and diet generalism evolve in response to environmental variability. Furthermore, motor diversity constitutes a proximate link between diet generalism and innovativeness.
Authors:Hau Casagrande; J.Q. Ouyang A.T. Baugh Abstract: Publication date: Available online 2 March 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): M. Hau, S. Casagrande, J.Q. Ouyang, A.T. Baugh Hormones are major physiological signals through which individuals flexibly adjust behavioral phenotypes to fluctuations in external and internal conditions. In vertebrates, glucocorticoid (GC) hormones contribute to such phenotypic flexibility, coordinating changes in metabolism, behavior, and the endocrine stress response. While the mechanisms of GC action are increasingly being understood, their phenotypic effects within- and among individuals, and the resulting evolutionary processes have only recently become a focus in behavioral endocrinology. To date, basic questions regarding hormonal phenotypes remain unanswered, including their temporal stability (repeatability), genetic and environmental determinants, heritability in natural populations, and potential for evolutionary changes following environmental shifts. To address these issues, we first review the regulation and actions of GCs, summarize their modulation by external and internal factors, and highlight current concepts explaining GC dynamics. Second, we describe recent work that quantified the repeatability of GC traits, emphasizing the need to parse variation within and among individuals in GCs and in the behavioral traits they mediate. Third, we evaluate our current knowledge concerning the heritability of GC traits and their response to artificial selection, followed by an assessment of the extent to which variation in GC and GC-mediated traits has functional implications. Last, we discuss useful experimental and analytical approaches for characterizing phenotypic flexibility in GCs, outline some of the proximate pathways through which variability within and among individuals can arise and the functional consequences of GC-mediated flexibility. Throughout this review, we suggest promising research avenues to advance our understanding of the evolution of hormonal mediation of behavioral phenotypes.
Authors:G.W. Uetz; D.L. Clark; J.A. Roberts Pages: 117 - 159 Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 April 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): G.W. Uetz, D.L. Clark, J.A. Roberts Communication is critical for spiders, as they are predatory and potentially cannibalistic and thereby positioned uniquely at the intersection of sexual and natural selection. Perhaps as a consequence, spiders exhibit a great diversity of communication behaviors. Spiders communicate using several sensory modes (vibratory, chemical, and visual) in multiple contexts. The subject of communication in spiders has been of growing interest to animal behaviorists and evolutionary biologists in recent decades, and despite an overall dearth of information, several recent reviews have stimulated new research. In this review, we briefly examine production, reception, and information content of spider signals and the various contexts in which communication occurs. We will then focus on wolf spiders, as they are among the best studied, and highlight some more detailed examples from our own work with video and vibratory playback experiments on Schizocosa ocreata (Hentz) as well as some other well-studied species.
Authors:M.A. Bee; M.S. Reichert; J. Tumulty Pages: 161 - 249 Abstract: Publication date: Available online 3 March 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): M.A. Bee, M.S. Reichert, J. Tumulty Empirical studies of contest behavior in anuran amphibians date back to the birth of behavioral ecology. Over the intervening years, considerable evidence has accumulated regarding two specific contest-related behaviors: the assessment and recognition of competitive rivals based on the exchange of vocal signals. In the first part of this chapter, we review studies of anurans that focused on the assessment of a rival's size and resource-holding potential, the honesty of signals used in assessment, graded variation in aggressive vocalizations, and the use of other, nonauditory sensory modalities for assessment. We emphasize problems of interpretation arising from the fact that much of this empirical work predates more recent and sophisticated theoretical treatments of assessment. In the second part of the chapter, we turn to rival assessment in the form of recognition between territorial neighbors (the “dear enemy” effect). After reviewing studies of neighbor recognition, we critically examine studies that have explicitly investigated components of rival recognition systems in anurans. The take-home message of this chapter is that despite significant advances in the study of contest behaviors in anurans, clear explanations for the diversity observed in the assessment and recognition of competitive rivals in this group are still lacking. We conclude by outlining important research directions in which future advances could be made regarding the function, evolution, and mechanisms of rival assessment and recognition.
Authors:I. Ronai; V. Vergoz; B.P. Oldroyd Pages: 251 - 317 Abstract: Publication date: Available online 18 April 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): I. Ronai, V. Vergoz, B.P. Oldroyd Extreme reproductive skew towards particular females is a defining feature of the eusocial Hymenoptera and workers are completely sterile in at least 13 genera. The evolution of worker sterility is problematic because an individual that has decreased fertility has reduced direct fitness. Here we review the major theories that seek to explain the evolution of eusociality and discuss how “genes for altruism,” in terms of reproduction, might be identified. We then review the experimental approaches used to identify the genetic basis of worker sterility, particularly in honey bees. Eight gene signaling pathways are likely to be involved in regulating worker fertility: insulin/insulin-like growth factor 1 signaling (IIS); juvenile hormone; ecdysteroid; mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR); dopamine; mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPK); epidermal growth factor receptor (Egfr), and wingless-related MMTV integration site (Wnt). We focus our discussion of the developmental mechanisms that underlie worker sterility on specific “reproductive control points” that regulate worker fertility both pre- and post-eclosion. We propose that environmental cues (such as queen pheromone) interact with particular signaling pathways to regulate the control points and reduce the reproductive capacity of the worker. We suggest that the mechanism common to all the control points, and therefore underlying worker sterility, is programmed cell death. Our review concludes with a mechanistic scenario for the evolution of worker sterility.
Authors:S.A. Ramm; P. Stockley Pages: 443 - 501 Abstract: Publication date: Available online 21 March 2016 Source:Advances in the Study of Behavior Author(s): S.A. Ramm, P. Stockley Rodents have long been recognized as an ideal model group for studying vertebrate sperm competition, since they exhibit very wide diversity in mating systems and are amenable to both experimental and comparative research approaches. From a strong initial focus on copulatory behavior and patterns of paternity, a new generation of studies is now revealing adaptive variation in diverse male reproductive traits, aided by methodological advances that most recently include postgenomic approaches. Here we aim to assess the current state of knowledge about rodent sperm competition and demonstrate how recent progress is building a more integrated view of the evolution of male reproductive phenotypes. Surveying research across six key male reproductive traits—copulatory behavior, sperm production, sperm allocation, sperm quality, seminal fluid, and genitalia—our review reveals a rich catalog of male adaptations to sperm competition in rodents. Recent molecular and genome-based approaches are already transforming our understanding of these traits, closing the gap between genotypic and phenotypic perspectives on their adaptive evolution. Significant future challenges lie in integrating female roles in postcopulatory sexual selection, and in judging the relative importance of the myriad male adaptations to sperm competition, both in relation to one another in determining competitive fertilization ability and compared to other sexually selected traits in explaining differential reproductive success.