Sex-dependent use of information on conspecific feeding activities in an amphibian urodelian
Article first published online: 4 DEC 2008
© 2008 The Author. Journal compilation © 2008 British Ecological Society
Volume 23, Issue 2, pages 380–388, April 2009
How to Cite
Aragón, P. (2009), Sex-dependent use of information on conspecific feeding activities in an amphibian urodelian. Functional Ecology, 23: 380–388. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2008.01519.x
- Issue published online: 13 MAR 2009
- Article first published online: 4 DEC 2008
- Received 28 July 2008; accepted 10 November 2008; Handling Editor: Juan Soler
- social information;
- personal information;
- Bosca's newt;
- Lissotriton boscai;
- 1Animals 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.
- 2To 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.
- 3Results 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.
- 4This 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.