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See detailThe aggressive personality of an introduced fish affects foraging behavior in a polymorphic newt
Winandy, Laurane ULg; Denoël, Mathieu ULg

in Behavioral Ecology (in press)

The study of personality has aroused much interest and has provided insight into the understanding of animal behavior. Nevertheless, the study of the ecological consequences of personality is a newer ... [more ▼]

The study of personality has aroused much interest and has provided insight into the understanding of animal behavior. Nevertheless, the study of the ecological consequences of personality is a newer field that could shed light on cases of alien species introductions. The goldfish (Carassius auratus) is frequently introduced worldwide and affects the abundance of newts, having an especially negative impact on an alternative phenotype, the paedomorph, which maintains larval traits at the adult stage, unlike the other phenotype, the metamorph, which has undergone metamorphosis. We experimentally assessed the impact of goldfish on the foraging behavior of both phenotypes of palmate newts (Lissotriton helveticus). More particularly, we assessed fish personality by analyzing the foraging activity and the aggressiveness toward newts, and newt personality by analyzing individual difference in boldness. In the presence of fish, fewer newts foraged than in their absence, and paedomorphs were more affected than metamorphs. We found strong personality differences in fish and fewer newts foraged in the presence of a more aggressive fish. Newts differed in boldness, but fish aggressiveness remains a key factor to explain newt behavior. Studying behavioral interactions between native and alien species helps to understand the mechanisms of coexistence and exclusion and why different phenotypes might be affected differently by the same threat. To a great extent, not only the presence of fish alters the foraging opportunities of newts but also the personality of the invader; integrating personality patterns of invaders is therefore a key to understanding the ecological consequences of alien species introduction. [less ▲]

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See detailSocial enviroment influences aphid production of alarm pheromone
Verheggen, François ULg; Haubruge, Eric ULg; De Moraes, Consuelo M et al

in Behavioral Ecology (2009), 20(2), 283-288

In most aphid species, the volatile sesquiterpene (E)-beta-farnesene (E beta f) is released as an alarm pheromone in response to predation and is also emitted continuously at low levels. Some aphid ... [more ▼]

In most aphid species, the volatile sesquiterpene (E)-beta-farnesene (E beta f) is released as an alarm pheromone in response to predation and is also emitted continuously at low levels. Some aphid predators use E beta f as a foraging cue, suggesting that the benefits to aphids of signaling via E beta f must be weighed against the cost of increasing apparency to natural enemies. To determine whether aphids vary E beta f production in response to features of their social environment, we compared the production of E beta f by Acyrthosiphon pisum (Harris) individuals reared in isolation with that of individuals reared among conspecifics or individuals of a different aphid species, Myzus persicae. Production of E beta f by A. pisum reared in isolation was significantly lower than that of aphids reared among conspecifics or among M. persicae individuals. When we reared A. pisum individuals in isolation but exposed them to odors from an aphid colony, E beta f production was similar to that of aphids reared among conspecifics, suggesting that aphids use a volatile cue to assess their social environment and regulate their production of alarm pheromone. It is likely that this cue is E beta f itself, the only volatile compound previously found in headspace collections of A. pisum colonies. Finally, we examined the attraction of a predatory hoverfly, which uses E beta f as a foraging cue, to groups of aphids reared in isolation or among conspecifics and found that groups comprising individuals reared in isolation were significantly less attractive to the predator, suggesting that the observed variation in E beta f production may be ecologically relevant. [less ▲]

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