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Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction

Farine, Damien R.; Downing, Charles P. and Downing, Philip A. LU (2014) In Behavioral Ecology 25(3). p.574-581
Abstract

Despite widespread research on the interaction rules that drive group-living behavior in animals, little is known about the spatial self-organization of individuals in heterospecific groups. This has led to significant challenges in teasing apart the various mechanisms thought to underpin multispecies groups. One potentially useful approach for gaining an understanding of this process is to identify the rules that best predict the observed distribution of individuals across these groups. In order to gain an insight into the decision-making process that might generate patterns of heterospecific associations, we collected data on the number and distribution of nests in breeding colonies that contained 3 species of weaverbird. We found no... (More)

Despite widespread research on the interaction rules that drive group-living behavior in animals, little is known about the spatial self-organization of individuals in heterospecific groups. This has led to significant challenges in teasing apart the various mechanisms thought to underpin multispecies groups. One potentially useful approach for gaining an understanding of this process is to identify the rules that best predict the observed distribution of individuals across these groups. In order to gain an insight into the decision-making process that might generate patterns of heterospecific associations, we collected data on the number and distribution of nests in breeding colonies that contained 3 species of weaverbird. We found no evidence of segregation by species, either within or between colonies. Using agent-based simulations of males applying different rules of attraction and repulsion to conspecifics or heterospecifics, we found that the best-fitting rule contained no heterospecific attraction. In this rule, individuals picked colonies based on an optimal distribution of conspecific nests. Given that nests are an important sexual signal in weavers, our findings suggest that this rule is biologically relevant: Males are seeking an optimal trade-off between attracting females via lekking and competing for mates if too many conspecific nests are present.

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author
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Collective animal behavior, Colonial breeding, Competition, Interspecific interactions, Ploceidae, Self-organization
in
Behavioral Ecology
volume
25
issue
3
pages
8 pages
publisher
Oxford University Press
external identifiers
  • scopus:84900838676
ISSN
1045-2249
DOI
10.1093/beheco/aru023
language
English
LU publication?
no
id
8b2660a4-ab8e-4bba-9759-c7b55443b90b
date added to LUP
2017-05-04 12:43:05
date last changed
2017-05-05 11:55:55
@article{8b2660a4-ab8e-4bba-9759-c7b55443b90b,
  abstract     = {<p>Despite widespread research on the interaction rules that drive group-living behavior in animals, little is known about the spatial self-organization of individuals in heterospecific groups. This has led to significant challenges in teasing apart the various mechanisms thought to underpin multispecies groups. One potentially useful approach for gaining an understanding of this process is to identify the rules that best predict the observed distribution of individuals across these groups. In order to gain an insight into the decision-making process that might generate patterns of heterospecific associations, we collected data on the number and distribution of nests in breeding colonies that contained 3 species of weaverbird. We found no evidence of segregation by species, either within or between colonies. Using agent-based simulations of males applying different rules of attraction and repulsion to conspecifics or heterospecifics, we found that the best-fitting rule contained no heterospecific attraction. In this rule, individuals picked colonies based on an optimal distribution of conspecific nests. Given that nests are an important sexual signal in weavers, our findings suggest that this rule is biologically relevant: Males are seeking an optimal trade-off between attracting females via lekking and competing for mates if too many conspecific nests are present.</p>},
  author       = {Farine, Damien R. and Downing, Charles P. and Downing, Philip A.},
  issn         = {1045-2249},
  keyword      = {Collective animal behavior,Colonial breeding,Competition,Interspecific interactions,Ploceidae,Self-organization},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {3},
  pages        = {574--581},
  publisher    = {Oxford University Press},
  series       = {Behavioral Ecology},
  title        = {Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/aru023},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2014},
}