Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction

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Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction. / Farine, Damien R.; Downing, Charles P.; Downing, Philip A.

In: Behavioral Ecology, Vol. 25, No. 3, 2014, p. 574-581.

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Farine, Damien R. ; Downing, Charles P. ; Downing, Philip A. / Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction. In: Behavioral Ecology. 2014 ; Vol. 25, No. 3. pp. 574-581.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Mixed-species associations can arise without heterospecific attraction

AU - Farine, Damien R.

AU - Downing, Charles P.

AU - Downing, Philip A.

PY - 2014

Y1 - 2014

N2 - Despite widespread research on the interaction rules that drive group-living behavior in animals, little is known about the spatial self-organization of individuals in heterospecific groups. This has led to significant challenges in teasing apart the various mechanisms thought to underpin multispecies groups. One potentially useful approach for gaining an understanding of this process is to identify the rules that best predict the observed distribution of individuals across these groups. In order to gain an insight into the decision-making process that might generate patterns of heterospecific associations, we collected data on the number and distribution of nests in breeding colonies that contained 3 species of weaverbird. We found no evidence of segregation by species, either within or between colonies. Using agent-based simulations of males applying different rules of attraction and repulsion to conspecifics or heterospecifics, we found that the best-fitting rule contained no heterospecific attraction. In this rule, individuals picked colonies based on an optimal distribution of conspecific nests. Given that nests are an important sexual signal in weavers, our findings suggest that this rule is biologically relevant: Males are seeking an optimal trade-off between attracting females via lekking and competing for mates if too many conspecific nests are present.

AB - Despite widespread research on the interaction rules that drive group-living behavior in animals, little is known about the spatial self-organization of individuals in heterospecific groups. This has led to significant challenges in teasing apart the various mechanisms thought to underpin multispecies groups. One potentially useful approach for gaining an understanding of this process is to identify the rules that best predict the observed distribution of individuals across these groups. In order to gain an insight into the decision-making process that might generate patterns of heterospecific associations, we collected data on the number and distribution of nests in breeding colonies that contained 3 species of weaverbird. We found no evidence of segregation by species, either within or between colonies. Using agent-based simulations of males applying different rules of attraction and repulsion to conspecifics or heterospecifics, we found that the best-fitting rule contained no heterospecific attraction. In this rule, individuals picked colonies based on an optimal distribution of conspecific nests. Given that nests are an important sexual signal in weavers, our findings suggest that this rule is biologically relevant: Males are seeking an optimal trade-off between attracting females via lekking and competing for mates if too many conspecific nests are present.

KW - Collective animal behavior

KW - Colonial breeding

KW - Competition

KW - Interspecific interactions

KW - Ploceidae

KW - Self-organization

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84900838676&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1093/beheco/aru023

DO - 10.1093/beheco/aru023

M3 - Article

VL - 25

SP - 574

EP - 581

JO - Behavioral Ecology

T2 - Behavioral Ecology

JF - Behavioral Ecology

SN - 1045-2249

IS - 3

ER -