Advanced

Determinants of Contests in Ugandan Female Ground-Nesting Bees (Tetralonia sp. n.)

Fisher, D. N. LU ; Melgar, J. LU ; Macleod, A. and Nuttman, Clive V. (2017) In African Entomology 25(2). p.319-327
Abstract

Many animals engage in contests with conspecifics for access to resources. Understanding which resources individuals are contesting for, and what influences the outcome is central to our understanding of contest behaviour. We initially observed female bees of the genus Tetralonia (sp. n.) aggressively competing for access to burrows in the ground, without any clear indication of exactly which resources were being contested, or what factors might predict the outcome.We then individually marked bees and assigned ownership of burrows to individuals, before observing over 100 aggressive interactions. After excavating burrows cast with molten wax, we concluded that burrows were nests for provisioning larvae. We found that ownership (as... (More)

Many animals engage in contests with conspecifics for access to resources. Understanding which resources individuals are contesting for, and what influences the outcome is central to our understanding of contest behaviour. We initially observed female bees of the genus Tetralonia (sp. n.) aggressively competing for access to burrows in the ground, without any clear indication of exactly which resources were being contested, or what factors might predict the outcome.We then individually marked bees and assigned ownership of burrows to individuals, before observing over 100 aggressive interactions. After excavating burrows cast with molten wax, we concluded that burrows were nests for provisioning larvae. We found that ownership (as putatively designated by us) had no influence on contest outcome, but rather that the position of the bees in the burrow was decisive; whichever bee was already in the burrowwhenthe contest beganwonthe vast majority of interactions. Furthermore, bees that were designated ownership of a burrow did not engage in longer fights for possession of that specific burrow, indicating either that they were not committing any kind of 'Concorde fallacy' by basing decisions on past investment, or that the assignment of ownership was incorrect. Instead, fights were longer later in the day, presumably as the value of the burrow as a refuge from the cold and/or predation increased as night approached. Nest parasitism does not seem to be a common strategy in this species, as owners were not more likely to attempt ejecting an intruder than vice versa. This indicates that contest settlement may not always follow theoretical predictions, but rather that insights and inferences into a species' ecology can be made from observations of dyadic contests.

(Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
animal contest, Concorde fallacy, ground-nesting, Hymenoptera, paradoxical outcome., resident effect
in
African Entomology
volume
25
issue
2
pages
9 pages
publisher
Entomological Society of Southern Africa
external identifiers
  • scopus:85031087166
  • wos:000416721900005
ISSN
1021-3589
DOI
10.4001/003.025.0319
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
d4e7204a-78ae-42f2-ab95-6d3efb53b151
date added to LUP
2017-10-27 07:56:59
date last changed
2018-01-16 13:24:35
@article{d4e7204a-78ae-42f2-ab95-6d3efb53b151,
  abstract     = {<p>Many animals engage in contests with conspecifics for access to resources. Understanding which resources individuals are contesting for, and what influences the outcome is central to our understanding of contest behaviour. We initially observed female bees of the genus Tetralonia (sp. n.) aggressively competing for access to burrows in the ground, without any clear indication of exactly which resources were being contested, or what factors might predict the outcome.We then individually marked bees and assigned ownership of burrows to individuals, before observing over 100 aggressive interactions. After excavating burrows cast with molten wax, we concluded that burrows were nests for provisioning larvae. We found that ownership (as putatively designated by us) had no influence on contest outcome, but rather that the position of the bees in the burrow was decisive; whichever bee was already in the burrowwhenthe contest beganwonthe vast majority of interactions. Furthermore, bees that were designated ownership of a burrow did not engage in longer fights for possession of that specific burrow, indicating either that they were not committing any kind of 'Concorde fallacy' by basing decisions on past investment, or that the assignment of ownership was incorrect. Instead, fights were longer later in the day, presumably as the value of the burrow as a refuge from the cold and/or predation increased as night approached. Nest parasitism does not seem to be a common strategy in this species, as owners were not more likely to attempt ejecting an intruder than vice versa. This indicates that contest settlement may not always follow theoretical predictions, but rather that insights and inferences into a species' ecology can be made from observations of dyadic contests.</p>},
  author       = {Fisher, D. N. and Melgar, J. and Macleod, A. and Nuttman, Clive V.},
  issn         = {1021-3589},
  keyword      = {animal contest,Concorde fallacy,ground-nesting,Hymenoptera,paradoxical outcome.,resident effect},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {09},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {319--327},
  publisher    = {Entomological Society of Southern Africa},
  series       = {African Entomology},
  title        = {Determinants of Contests in Ugandan Female Ground-Nesting Bees (Tetralonia sp. n.)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.4001/003.025.0319},
  volume       = {25},
  year         = {2017},
}