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Animal Behaviour
Journal Prestige (SJR): 1.58
Citation Impact (citeScore): 3
Number of Followers: 217  
  Hybrid Journal Hybrid journal (It can contain Open Access articles)
ISSN (Print) 0003-3472 - ISSN (Online) 1095-8282
Published by Elsevier Homepage  [3185 journals]
  • Erratum to ‘Chimpanzees, but not bonobos, attend more to infant than
           adult conspecifics’ [Animal Behaviour 154 (2019) 171–181]
    • Abstract: Publication date: November 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 157Author(s): Yuri Kawaguchi, Fumihiro Kano, Masaki Tomonaga
  • Turbidity increases risk perception but constrains collective behaviour
           during foraging by fish shoals
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Alice C. Chamberlain, Christos C. IoannouTurbidity reduces the distance that animals can detect food, predators and conspecifics. How turbidity affects decision making in social contexts has rarely been investigated; moreover, it is unknown whether decreased shoaling in turbid water is due to visual constraints (a mechanistic explanation) or a reduced perception of predation risk (an adaptive explanation). Using a V-shaped decision-making arena, we investigated the effect of turbidity on foraging in groups of three-spined sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus. In turbid conditions, fish took longer to leave a refuge and locate the food in one of the arms and consumed less food once it was found. This increase in risk-averse behaviour was further supported by improved accuracy over repeated trials and a speed–accuracy trade-off only being observed in turbid conditions. Despite evidence of a higher perception of risk in turbid water, the first fish to choose an arm of the maze was more likely to be alone in turbid water; thus, this individual lost the antipredator and decision-making benefits of collective behaviour. This suggests that turbidity acts mechanistically as a visual constraint, shifting decisions away from being made collectively to being made by individuals separated from the group, which could have potential impacts for wild prey populations.
  • Sperm competition tactics shape paternity: adaptive role of extremely long
           copulations in a wolf spider
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Balázs Kiss, Zoltán Rádai, Søren Toft, Ferenc SamuPolyandry may occur in many species. In spiders when multiple males mate sequentially, conservative anatomical female traits largely, although not entirely, determine whether the first or last male gains precedence in siring the offspring. More flexible behavioural traits show remarkable variation among spiders, including the occurrence of extremely long copulation times. In the wolf spider Pardosa agrestis copulations can last several hours, even though complete fertilization of the female's eggs requires a small fraction of this time. We tested the hypothesis that long copulations in P. agrestis may be a way to overcome a strict first-male precedence, expected from the genital anatomy of female entelegyne spiders. In a large number of mating tests we observed complete and interrupted copulations in both positions of a double mating set-up. Using the sterile male technique we found that paternity was not exclusively determined by the mating order of males; interruption of mating had a dramatic effect on paternity, but did not affect offspring number in a single mating scenario (i.e. the copulation duration was sufficient for the fertilization of all eggs). Females that had an uninterrupted mating were less willing to mate again and became choosy, while females whose first mating was interrupted behaved similarly to virgin females. Also, males seemed to adjust copulation duration to female reproductive status, mating for less time with nonvirgin females, irrespective of whether the female's first mating was interrupted or not. We conclude that extremely long copulations are likely to be an adaptive behaviour manipulating female reproductive behaviour and enabling males to overcome phylogenetically determined limitations in paternity.
  • Copy when uncertain: lower light levels increase trail pheromone
           depositing and reliance on pheromone trails in ants
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Sam Jones, Tomer J. Czaczkes, Alan J. Gallager, Felix B. Oberhauser, Ewan Gourlay, Jonathan P. BaconAnimals may gather information from multiple sources, and these information sources may conflict. Theory predicts that, all else being equal, reliance on a particular information source will depend on its information content relative to other sources. Information conflicts are a good area in which to test such predictions. Social insects, such as ants, make extensive use of both private information (e.g. visual route memories) and social information (e.g. pheromone trails) when attempting to locate a food source. Importantly, eusocial insects collaborate on food retrieval, so both information use and information provision may be expected to vary with the information content of alternative information sources. Many ants, such as Lasius niger, are active both day and night. Variation in light levels represents an ecologically important change in the information content of visually acquired route information. Here, we examined information use and information provision under high light levels, equivalent to a bright but overcast day, moderate light levels, simulating dusk, and darkness, equivalent to a moonless night. Ants learned poorly, or not at all, in darkness. As light levels decreased, ants showed decreasing reliance on private visual information, and a stronger reliance on social information, consistent with a ‘copy when uncertain’ strategy. In moderate light levels and darkness, pheromone depositing increased, presumably to compensate for the low information content of visual information. Varying light levels for cathemeral animals provides a powerful and ecologically meaningful method for examining information use and provision under varying levels of information content.
  • The influence of the invasive process on behaviours in an intentionally
           introduced hybrid, Xiphophorus helleri–maculatus
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Danny M. D'Amore, Viorel D. Popescu, Molly R. MorrisBoth intentionally and unintentionally introduced populations vary greatly in their ability to succeed as invasive species. What causes this extreme variability in success largely remains controversial. Understanding the extent to which these differences are due to aspects of the invasive process could lead to better mitigation of invasive species. We investigated the effect of the invasive process in selecting for individual behaviours and behavioural syndromes in the Xiphophorus helleri–maculatus hybrid, an intentionally introduced fish species. We measured three behaviours (boldness, aggression and exploration) known to play a role in invasive success across three populations representing different stages of invasion: fish from commercial breeding pools, from pet stores and from an established invasive population in Hawaii. We detected significant differences in boldness across populations, with a significant decrease from the breeding pool to the pet store and a significant increase from the pet store to the established invasive population. In addition, we detected behavioural syndromes between either two or all three behaviours that were significantly different across populations. Overall variation in behaviours was similar between breeding pool and pet store fish but appeared to decrease in the invasive population when compared to the pet store population, potentially leading to a more defined behavioural syndrome between exploration and aggression. Our results suggest that while aspects of the invasive process influenced boldness and behavioural syndromes, the increased variation, produced either through hybridization or relaxed selection in the pet trade, is at least partly responsible for the success of X. helleri–maculatus as an invasive species. Additional studies are needed to examine the source of the variation in the pet trade and its influence on the formation of behavioural syndromes in invasive populations.
  • Antipredator function of vigilance re-examined: vigilant birds delay
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Kunter Tätte, Juan Diego Ibáñez-Álamo, Gábor Markó, Raivo Mänd, Anders Pape MøllerVigilance is considered an effective antipredator behaviour in animals, and hence it should reflect fearfulness. While numerous aspects of vigilance have been extensively studied, there is a paucity of evidence regarding the role of vigilance in escaping from predators. In a multispecies approach, we measured vigilance (as the proportion of time spent in a head-up posture) and three consecutive components of escape behaviour, predetection distance, assessment interval and flight initiation distance, of wild birds in urban and rural habitats in three European countries. Escape behaviour was induced by a human observer walking towards the focal bird whose vigilance was measured beforehand. More vigilant individuals did not detect predators earlier than less vigilant ones. In addition, more vigilant individuals spent more time on risk assessment and escaped later. Body mass was positively correlated with vigilance for birds on higher perches, where we expected vigilance to be less important. Finally, urban birds were more vigilant than rural birds, suggesting that distractions in urban habitats might have a more profound impact on vigilance than the expected lower predation risk. These results challenge the underlying assumption that more vigilant individuals have a higher perceived risk of predation and hence better odds at avoiding predation. We explain our results in the context that higher levels of vigilance compensate for environmental distractions and for innate deficiencies or lack of experience that constrain the detection of predators. We suggest that a re-examination of the basic functions and markers of vigilance is needed before using it as a measure of fearfulness in birds.
  • Male use of chemical signals in sex discrimination of Hawaiian swordtail
           crickets (genus Laupala)
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Glenn F. Stamps, Kerry L. ShawWhile the mate choice literature has focused primarily on the choices that females make, under certain circumstances males are expected to make mating decisions as well. Such circumstances include when males provide a significant energetic investment in a female or her offspring. Male orthopterans can invest considerable resources in females and have been studied for their mating investment decisions. However, while males provide acoustic information to females, females do not provide reciprocal acoustic information to males. Here, we tested the hypothesis that Laupala males use chemical signals to make mating decisions. We found that males and females have discernable differences in cuticular lipid expression when considering both whole-body and antennae-only extracts. Furthermore, access to the antennae alone resulted in males showing more courtship towards females and more aggressive behaviours towards males. Finally, males showed higher levels of association and courtship behaviour near female-exposed filter paper than they did near male-exposed and control filter paper. These results suggest that Laupala males use chemical signals when deciding whether to initiate courtship and open the possibility that chemical communication has played a role in the diversification of this genus.
  • Corrigendum to ‘Fear contagion in zebrafish: a behaviour affected by
           familiarity’ [Animal Behaviour 153 (2019) 95–103]
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 7 September 2019Source: Animal BehaviourAuthor(s): Priscila Fernandes Silva, Carlos Garcia de Leaniz, Ana Carolina Luchiari
  • Division of labour in territorial defence and pup retrieval by pair-bonded
           California mice, Peromyscus californicus
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Nathaniel S. Rieger, Evan H. Stanton, Catherine A. MarlerDivision of labour allows group-living species to efficiently complete tasks while minimizing resource expenditure. This generally involves task allocation between individuals. In territorial defence and parental care specifically, division of labour can be completed using different strategies, often involving one or more individuals defending the territory while others care for offspring. Little is known, however, about division of labour by monogamous and biparental mammals. We investigated labour division strategies across territorial defence and pup retrievals by monogamous, biparental, territorial California mice along with the role of vocal communication in coordinating these behaviours. Male and female pair-bonded California mice display aggression towards same-sex intruders and retrieve pups while alone, but how pairs complete these tasks while together remains unknown. We found that California mouse pairs used one of two strategies during territorial defence: (1) joint defence or (2) divided defence. Overall, these strategies were not altered by the intruder sex or the birth of pups. However, postpartum individuals spent more time alone in the nest and pairs spent less time together investigating intruders. Pup retrievals, conversely, followed a sex-specific strategy where mothers retrieved pups in 89% of pairs while males retrieved pups in 11% of pairs. This study shows for the first time that a monogamous and biparental rodent uses different strategies to divide labour during vital tasks of territorial defence and pup retrieval. Moreover, we found that vocal communication via sustained vocalizations were predictive of aggressive behaviour but not retrieval behaviour, indicating that vocalizations may only play a role in coordinating specific behaviours. Importantly, these strategies were task dependent and robust across intruder sex and parental status, providing a framework for better understanding division of labour in mammals.
  • Variation in intraspecific sperm translocation behaviour in a damselfly
           and its consequences for sperm viability
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Anais Rivas-Torres, M. Olalla Lorenzo-Caballa, Rosa Ana Sánchez-Guillén, Adolfo Cordero-RiveraSperm quality and viability affect both male and female fitness. Most dragonfly and damselfly males translocate sperm from the testis to the seminal vesicle before each copulation, a behaviour known as intramale sperm translocation (ST). However, some published observations indicate that odonate males can occasionally skip ST prior to copulation. Our aim was to determine the circumstances under which males skip ST and how this might affect sperm viability. We allowed males of the damselfly Ischnura graellsii to perform ST (interrupting the copulation at this stage) and we studied ST behaviour during subsequent copulation. Males were randomly assigned to four treatments, which consisted of allowing the experimental male to copulate again 15 min or 1–3 days after his last ST. Fertility of females mated with the experimental males was analysed as a proxy for sperm viability. All males used the sperm that they translocated previously when the second mating took place 15 min after the manipulation, while the proportion of males that repeated ST increased steadily over time. Both treatment (time elapsed since last ST) and the interaction between treatment and ST (yes/no) had a significant effect on fertility, which decreased only in males that did not perform ST immediately before copulation. Additional experiments with damselflies of the genus Calopteryx showed also that males did not repeat ST when the time to the next copulation was less than a day. Our results suggest that sperm quality decays over time in odonates, and that males can choose whether to keep and reuse the sperm in the seminal vesicle or to discard it. We conclude that the special anatomical disposition of odonate males might increase selective pressures to maximize sperm viability and/or repeated intramale ST behaviour.
  • Plumage melanism is linked to male quality, female parental investment and
           assortative mating in an alpine songbird
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Devin R. de Zwaan, Sydney Barnes, Kathy MartinMelanin is a common pigment that can indicate individual quality to potential mates and social dominance to competitors. For many avian species, plumage melanism varies within both males and females. If predictive of individual quality, sexual selection may drive contrasting expressions of melanism for each sex, reflecting their different reproductive roles. For an alpine population of horned larks, Eremophila alpestris, we investigated whether plumage ornament size and darkness predicted morphometric traits, parental care and fitness correlates, and we evaluated support for assortative pairing. Males with darker crowns and larger masks were associated with greater wing length and mass, respectively. Males with darker ornaments were paired with females that provisioned nestlings at a higher rate, began nesting earlier in the season, had larger clutch sizes and ultimately had greater nest success. For females, plumage ornaments did not predict morphometric traits (i.e. wing length, mass), provisioning rate of the male partner, clutch initiation date or reproductive success. Instead, females with darker crowns provisioned nestlings more frequently and had larger clutches. Overall darker males tended to pair with darker females, but plumage ornament size did not correlate within mated pairs. We demonstrate that: (1) the darkness of plumage ornaments is a better predictor of fitness than ornament size and (2) darker males are associated with greater individual quality and reproductive investment of the female mate, while female darkness primarily predicts reproductive investment. These results indicate the potential for sex-specific selection pressures and mate choice based on the predictive value of plumage melanism.
  • Play for prey: do deer fawns play to develop species-typical antipredator
           tactics or to prepare for the unexpected'
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Rebecca N. Carter, Cora A. Romanow, Sergio M. Pellis, Susan LingleAnimals ranging from mammals to fishes and even invertebrates play. Although this behaviour has been shown to improve the physical condition and survival of juveniles, we do not know exactly how these benefits are achieved. The motor training hypothesis suggests that play helps animals develop their motor skills. The self-handicapping hypothesis suggests that animals build cognitive and emotional skills to prepare for the unexpected, by using play as a way to practise losing and regaining postural control. We conducted focal observations and recorded videos of play to examine the specific form and timing of locomotor play in mule deer, Odocoileus hemionus, and white-tailed deer, Odocoileus virginianus, fawns, so as to test predictions associated with these two hypotheses. Consistent with the motor training hypothesis, play peaked early in life (≤3 weeks), which should coincide with development of the cerebellum and motor skills. These closely related species differ in antipredator tactics, so we predicted that they should display different motor patterns during play if it serves a motor training function. Although some characteristics reflected species-typical antipredator tactics (e.g. more ‘signal bounds’, leaps with long and high suspension, in white-tailed deer; more social play in mule deer), both species engaged in a similar amount of fast travel and similar rates of turns, traits that we expected to differ in line with their antipredator tactics. Consistent with the self-handicapping hypothesis, fawns of both species displayed high rates of nonfunctional manoeuvres, which were similar in form. However, these manoeuvres did not become more common as the fawns aged as expected if these help to develop the prefrontal cortex and cognitive skills. Our results suggest a refinement and blending of both hypotheses. Juveniles may play to develop similar motor skills rather than species-typical antipredator tactics, with nonfunctional manoeuvres to further promote the development of cognitive and motor skills during the early juvenile period.
  • Behavioural responses of songbirds to preen oil odour cues of sex and
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Leanne A. Grieves, Mark A. Bernards, Elizabeth A. MacDougall-ShackletonChemical signalling is widespread across animal taxa. Even birds, once thought to have little or no sense of smell, are now known to possess a fully functional olfactory system and may thus respond to conspecific and heterospecific chemical signals. In birds, body odour derives primarily from preen oil, a complex chemical mixture that is potentially rich in information: for example, preen oil chemical composition differs between the sexes and among species. Hypothesizing that songbirds attend to preen oil odour cues in the contexts of intra- and interspecific communication, we presented breeding-condition adult song sparrows, Melospiza melodia, with preen oil odour cues in two-choice tests. We compared time spent in a Y-maze arm scented with preen oil from same-sex conspecifics relative to the absence of such odour; from opposite-sex relative to same-sex conspecifics; and from female brown-headed cowbirds, Molothrus ater (frequent brood parasites of song sparrows), relative to the absence of such odour. The time spent with same-sex conspecific preen oil was not significantly different than time spent without odour. However, both males and females spent more time with opposite-sex than same-sex preen oil. We found a sex-by-stimulus interaction with respect to female cowbird odour: male song sparrows spent more time with cowbird preen oil than without odour, but female song sparrows showed the opposite pattern. Our findings show that even relatively nonsocial species can attend to the information contained in preen oil secretions.
  • Alternation of nest visits varies with experimentally manipulated workload
           in brood-provisioning great tits
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 4 September 2019Source: Animal BehaviourAuthor(s): Davide Baldan, Teja Curk, Camilla A. Hinde, Catherine M. LessellsIn species with biparental care, the amount of care devoted to offspring is affected by the negotiation rules that the parents adopt. Recently, turn taking in provisioning visits has been proposed as a negotiation rule by which parents respond to their partner's behaviour, which results in a perfect alternation of the nest visits by the parents. Empirical evidence suggests that parents do not strictly alternate their visits, and, so far, this imperfect alternation has received no experimental investigation. In this study, we tested whether alternation of nest visits might be subject to time constraints affecting the ability of parents to strictly take turns. We manipulated the workload of 15 great tit, Parus major, pairs using a short-term brood size manipulation. Parental nest visits alternated more in reduced than control and enlarged broods. To understand whether this variability could be caused by changes in turn taking, we explored the rate and regularity of the parents' intervisit intervals. Treatment differences in alternation were still present when controlling for the rate and regularity of the visits by each of the two parents, suggesting that workload also affected alternation via the temporal sequence of the intervals (e.g. via turn taking). Our results show that alternation of nest visits varies in response to workload and is not merely a by-product of variation in visit rate or regularity.
  • Sexually dimorphic blue bands are intrasexual aposematic signals in
           nonterritorial damselflies
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Md Kawsar Khan, Marie E. HerbersteinSexually dimorphic traits in males are thought to evolve via female preference or male–male competition. Alternatively, in species without overt male displays or female mate choice, dimorphic coloration may function as a warning signal to conspecific males thereby avoiding costly harassment. We aimed to determine the function of sexual dimorphic coloration in the damselfly Xanthagrion erythroneurum in which males, but not females, have conspicuous blue bands on the tip of the abdomen. We show that the male blue bands and female black abdomen are chromatically and achromatically discriminable against their natural background. Moreover, the male blue bands and their adjacent abdominal segments generate higher internal contrast than female abdominal segments. We conducted two sets of experiments to test alternative hypotheses that the male blue bands are (1) the target of female mate choice, or (2) an intrasexual aposematic signal to avoid male mating harassment. We hid male blue bands by painting them black and measured female preference between the manipulated and the nonmanipulated (control) males. We found no difference in mating success between the control and manipulated males, thereby rejecting the female preference hypothesis. To test whether the blue bands function as a warning signal, we manipulated the females by painting male-like blue bands on their abdomen and measured the male response to those females relative to control females. Females with artificial blue bands on the terminal abdomen were mated less frequently than control females. However, when we painted blue bands on the anterior abdominal segments, the males did not discriminate between control and painted females. Our study demonstrates that dimorphic coloration advertises the males' unprofitability as mates to conspecifics thereby reducing intrasexual harassment.
  • Pair coordination is related to later brood desertion in a provisioning
    • Abstract: Publication date: Available online 31 August 2019Source: Animal BehaviourAuthor(s): Davide Baldan, Matteo GriggioRaising a family is not free of conflict for parents, as each parent benefits when its partner provides more care for the offspring. Resolving this conflict requires cooperation between the parents. One way to achieve such cooperation might be to coordinate parental provisioning by synchronizing (i.e. returning to the nest at the same time) or alternating (i.e. taking turns) offspring provisioning at the nest. Empirical studies in birds indicate that pair coordination of the nest visits is common; however, it is unknown whether this behaviour is directly related to different outcomes of sexual conflict, such as brood desertion. We used the rock sparrow, Petronia petronia, a species with high levels of sexual conflict, to explore whether alternation and synchrony of the nest visits were related to later brood desertion. Pairs with no desertion alternated and synchronized their nest visits more than pairs in which one sex deserted. This difference in coordination was not simply a by-product of differences in provisioning by the parents. Synchrony of the visits also increased with offspring age in the pairs with no desertion. We provide evidence, for the first time to our knowledge, that the degree of parental coordination is strongly associated with the ultimate consequence of sexual conflict, brood desertion, supporting the idea that coordination in parental behaviour might promote conflict resolution.
  • Be prudent if it fits you well: male mate choice depends on male size in a
           golden orb-weaver spider
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): Pietro Pollo, Danilo G. Muniz, Eduardo S.A. SantosMale preference for high-quality females is expected to evolve when male reproductive potential is restricted. However, when there is competition among males, some models predict the evolution of assortative male mate choice, in which good competitors choose high-quality females while poor competitors choose lower quality females to avoid competition. In Trichonephila clavipes spiders, males have limited sperm supply and fight for access to females. We tested whether female quality and male size (a proxy of fighting ability) influence male decisions in T. clavipes. We used field experiments in which males could choose between two available females in a scenario free of competition. We found that males choose their mates based on both female size and female recent pairing status (whether the female was accompanied by a male before the experiment). Importantly, male mate choice was plastic, and varied with male size, as large males preferred larger females that were recently unpaired, medium-sized males showed no preference and small males preferred smaller, recently paired females. Because all females appear to attract males, we predict that variation in male mate choice attenuates sexual selection on females. Our findings confirm the prediction of variable male mate choice when there is male–male competition and male reproductive potential is restricted, a pattern that may be common, but hard to detect.
  • Spatial learning through active electroreception in Gnathonemus
    • Abstract: Publication date: October 2019Source: Animal Behaviour, Volume 156Author(s): S. Nicola Jung, Silke Künzel, Jacob EngelmannNavigation is a ubiquitous challenge to mobile animals as it is essential for finding mates, food and shelter. It can rely on self-generated (idiothetic) as well as external (allothetic) information. The contribution of either source of information depends on multiple factors, including the sensory modality. Far-range modalities such as vision have frequently been studied in the context of navigation, but the extent to which near-range sensory systems provide information for navigation is much less understood. Here we focused on spatial learning in the weakly electric fish Gnathonemus petersii. During their nocturnal excursions these fish typically rely on their short-range active electric sense to explore their environment. We addressed how these fish navigate and how electrosensory information is integrated in navigation. All fish learned to localize a target in a Barnes-like maze. In a series of transfer tests, we found that fish followed an idiothetic navigation strategy. When this strategy failed, fish were able to integrate electrosensory information to complete the task. Our results indicate that the active electric sense contributes to navigation in a resource-efficient and context-dependent manner. Together they show that weakly electric fish can incorporate highly localized sensory input in egocentric navigation. Extending these results will be important to reveal the sensory mechanisms of egocentric navigation in fish as well as to research whether and how spatially confined near-range sensory information might be used to form global representations of space.
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