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See detailWho brings out the dead ? Necrophoresis in the red ant, Myrmica rubra
Diez, Lise; Le Borgne, Hélène; Lejeune, Philippe ULg et al

in Animal Behaviour (2013)

The division of labour plays a major role in the success of social insects. For instance, through social prophylaxis, the spread of pathogens within the colony can be reduced if corpse removal is the ... [more ▼]

The division of labour plays a major role in the success of social insects. For instance, through social prophylaxis, the spread of pathogens within the colony can be reduced if corpse removal is the concern of a specialized group of ants. However, in relatively small colonies, the number of dead individuals and the amount of waste may be too low to justify a specialized group of corpse carriers. We examined the corpse removal habits of the common red ant, Myrmica rubra. Ants acting as corpse carriers were not strictly specialized in corpse management, but split their time between disposing of the dead and foraging. Some corpse-carrying individuals, however, developed a short-term specialization by making several successive corpse transports. Corpse carriers limited cross-contamination by remaining mostly outside the nest and congregating near the nest entrance when resting inside. [less ▲]

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See detailForaging plasticity favours adaptation to new habitats in fire salamanders
Manenti, Raoul; Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Ficetola, Gentile Francesco

in Animal Behaviour (2013), 86(2), 375-382

Predators often show strong plasticity of optimal foraging strategies. A major difference in foraging strategies occurs between sit-and-wait and active predators. Models predict that the efficiency of ... [more ▼]

Predators often show strong plasticity of optimal foraging strategies. A major difference in foraging strategies occurs between sit-and-wait and active predators. Models predict that the efficiency of these strategies is affected by environmental conditions, active predators being favoured when prey are scarce and their detection difficult. The shift between the two strategies may occur through both phenotypic plasticity and local adaptations. Larvae of the fire salamander, Salamandra salamandra, are typically stream-dwelling sit-and-wait predators, but some populations breed in caves. We evaluated whether local adaptations or phenotypic plasticity determine shifts in foraging strategy between stream and cave populations. The foraging behaviour of salamander larvae was evaluated under all combinations of three test conditions during trials: light versus darkness, prey presence versus absence and food deprived versus fed; larvae originated from caves and streams and were reared in epigeous photoperiod or in darkness. Observations and video tracking showed that salamander larvae modified their behaviour in response to environmental conditions. In the darkness, larvae showed higher average velocity and moved longer distances. Movements were higher in food-deprived larvae and in the presence of prey compared to fed larvae and prey absent conditions. Furthermore, larvae from cave populations showed higher behavioural plasticity than stream larvae, and better exploited the available space in test environments. Variation in foraging behaviour was strong, and involved complex interactions between plasticity and local adaptations. Larvae from cave populations showed higher behavioural plasticity, supporting the hypothesis that this trait may be important for the exploitation of novel environments, such as caves. [less ▲]

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See detailAssessment of oviposition site quality by aphidophagous hoverflies: reaction to conspecific larvae
Almohamad, Raki; Verheggen, François ULg; Francis, Frédéric ULg et al

in Animal Behaviour (2010), 79

Aphidophagous predators adapt their foraging behaviour to the presence of conspecific and heterospecific larvae. We studied the effect of the presence of conspecific larvae and their tracks on the ... [more ▼]

Aphidophagous predators adapt their foraging behaviour to the presence of conspecific and heterospecific larvae. We studied the effect of the presence of conspecific larvae and their tracks on the oviposition site selection of an aphid-specific predator, Episyrphus balteatus DeGeer (Diptera: Syrphidae), in two-choice experiments using a leaf disc bioassay. Gas chromatography – mass spectrometry analysis was used to identify the volatile chemicals released from odour extracts of E. balteatus larval tracks. The behavioural effects of these volatile substances on hoverfly females were also evaluated. Our experiments demonstrated that E. balteatus females were deterred from ovipositing when presented with a Vicia faba leaf with aphids and conspecific larvae. The oviposition-deterring stimulus was also active when females were presented with a leaf that contained conspecific larval tracks. A mixture of chemical compounds was found in the volatile pattern of odour extracts of larval tracks. The main volatile chemicals were 3-methylbutanoic acid, 2-methylbutanoic acid, 2-methylpropanoic acid, 3-hydroxy- 2-butanone, hexanoic acid and phenol. Females also laid significantly fewer eggs in response to odorant volatiles emitted from larval extracts. These results highlight that predatory hoverfly females avoid ovipositing in aphid colonies in which conspecific larvae or their tracks are already present, suggesting that this behaviour constitutes a strategy that enables females to optimize their oviposition site and reduce competition suffered by their offspring. [less ▲]

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See detailFish lateral system is required for accurate control of shoaling behaviour
Faucher, Karine ULg; Parmentier, Eric ULg; Becco, Christophe ULg et al

in Animal Behaviour (2010), 79

In teleost fishes, the lateral system is assumed to contribute, among other roles, to maintaining schooling behaviour. Sight is also assumed to play a role in schooling, as fish with a cut lateral line do ... [more ▼]

In teleost fishes, the lateral system is assumed to contribute, among other roles, to maintaining schooling behaviour. Sight is also assumed to play a role in schooling, as fish with a cut lateral line do not stop schooling unless they are also blinded. This conclusion, however, is based on experiments where only the trunk lateral line was inactivated, leaving the head lateral system intact. We investigated how inactivation of the whole lateral system affects fish shoaling behaviour. Groups of firehead tetras, Hemigrammus bleheri, were videorecorded before and after inactivation of their whole lateral system with aminoglycoside antibiotics (and also in sham-treated specimens). Shoaling behaviour was characterized by nearest distance to the first, second and third neighbours, shoal radius, shoal order parameter and the number of collisions between individuals. Scanning electron microscope observations showed damage to most superficial neuromasts as a result of antibiotic treatment. Importantly, the antibiotic-treated fish proved unable to maintain a shoal. After the end of the treatment, however, they recovered both a normal tissue morphology and normal shoaling behaviour within about a month. The lateral system is thus more crucial to shoaling behaviour than previously believed. [less ▲]

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See detailSexual compatibility between two heterochronic morphs in the Alpine newt, Triturus alpestris
Denoël, Mathieu ULg; Poncin, Pascal ULg; Ruwet, Jean-Claude

in Animal Behaviour (2001), 62(3), 559-566

Paedomorphosis, in which individuals retain ancestral characteristics in the adult stage, is widespread in newts and salamanders and is suspected to play an important role in evolution. In some species ... [more ▼]

Paedomorphosis, in which individuals retain ancestral characteristics in the adult stage, is widespread in newts and salamanders and is suspected to play an important role in evolution. In some species, paedomorphosis is facultative with some individuals forgoing metamorphosis. Optimality models have been proposed to explain the maintenance of this polymorphism, but require the integration of reproductive patterns into the models. We investigated the frequencies of inbreeding and outbreeding in two syntopic heterochronic morphs of the Alpine newt. The two morphs are sexually compatible: encounters between and within morphs were equally successful in terms of spermatophore transfer. Behavioural observations were in agreement with the sexual compatibility observed. Nevertheless, paedomorphic males displayed to females less frequently than metamorphic males. The two morphs differ largely on the basis of sexual secondary characteristics, but the majority of these traits did not affect mating success. Because of the large flow of genes between the two heterochronic morphs and because of the absence of spatial and temporal isolation, these results do not support sympatric speciation models, but are in favour of the maintenance of polymorphism in natural populations. (C) 2001 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. [less ▲]

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See detailEffects of testosterone propionate on the social behaviour of groups of male comestic ducklings Anas platyrhynchos L.
Balthazart, Jacques ULg; Stevens, M.

in Animal behaviour (1975), 23(4), 926-31

One-month old testosterone-injected ducklings were observed in groups of three males and their social behaviour compared to that of oil-injected control birds. Most elements of adult sexual behaviour and ... [more ▼]

One-month old testosterone-injected ducklings were observed in groups of three males and their social behaviour compared to that of oil-injected control birds. Most elements of adult sexual behaviour and one pattern of aggressive behaviour (chest fight) occurred more frequently in the experimental animals. It was shown that the same hormonal treatment induces different behavioural responses in different animals. Unlike previous studies, no social displays were observed in the testosterone-injected ducklings. Possible explanations of this fact are discussed. [less ▲]

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