SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Keywords:

  • social information;
  • personal information;
  • foraging;
  • Bosca's newt;
  • Lissotriton boscai;
  • Urodela

Summary

  • 1
    Animals can make decisions by observing the behaviour of others. Their decisions vary depending on whether the benefits of using such information exceed the costs. Thus, it is worthwhile to explore the potential costs associated with different sources of information to understand the consequences of sociality. Previous studies focused mainly on the costs inherent to information gathering, whereas sex differences with regard to the costs arising from information use have received less attention.
  • 2
    To explore this further I performed two complementary experiments. The first experiment aimed to examine individual responses to different combinations of information types that are likely to appear in nature, to test whether there is a sex-dependent response in the Bosca's newt, Lissotriton boscai. I tested the time needed for individuals to eat food items by trial-and-error tactics (personal information), and when a conspecific, which was eating or not, was added to the food cue. The second experiment aimed to evoke social interactions that are likely to arise after the choice of using information on conspecific feeding activities is made. I examined the potential costs associated with direct competition between same-sex pairs in food-limited conditions.
  • 3
    Results of experiment 1 revealed that in both sexes the latency to eat food items was shorter in the presence of non-feeding conspecifics, but only females took advantage when information related to feeding activities where added to the food cue. Results of experiment 2 showed that when faced with a limited resource of food, females were more prone to engage in costly interactions.
  • 4
    This study suggests that the balance between costs and benefits associated with the short-term use of information on conspecific feeding behaviour in combination with food cues may differ between sexes. Differential information uses by sexes might have profound consequences in intraspecific relationships and in the evolution of vertebrates’ social systems.