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Unformatted text preview: Male Siamese Fighting Fish, Betta splendens , Increase Rather than Conceal Courtship Behavior when a Rival is Present Teresa L. Dzieweczynski*, Sarah Lyman* & Elysia A. Poor * Department of Psychology, University of New England, Biddeford, ME, USA Cook Pharmica LLC, Bloomington, IN, USA Introduction Behavior can only be truly understood if it is placed in the context of an individuals physical and social environment. Different behaviors may be expressed in different environmental contexts. The social envi- ronment is particularly important because individu- als must respond to constraints imposed by conspecifics, which may change rapidly and fre- quently. As such, the presence of other individuals influences many behaviors, from foraging to aggres- sion, affecting the type of behaviors an individual displays as well as the timing and location of a display. For example, gray squirrels use evasive tac- tics when caching food in the presence of an audi- ence to reduce cache loss (Leaver et al. 2007) and threespine stickleback males court in concealed areas when a rival is present (Dzieweczynski & Rowland 2004). Numerous studies have explored how the presence of an audience influences foraging success, aggres- sive behavior and courtship behavior. The overall amount of courtship is affected by the presence of a rival but little is known about how specifically male behavior may be altered in this situation (e.g., amphibians: Denoe l 2003 [ Triturus alpestris ]; Hettyey Correspondence Teresa L. Dzieweczynski, Department of Psychology, University of New England, 11 Hills Beach Rd, Biddeford, ME 04005, USA. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Received: July 10, 2008 Initial acceptance: August 21, 2008 Final acceptance: October 11, 2008 (S. A. Foster) doi: 10.1111/j.1439-0310.2008.01602.x Abstract The impact of social environment on mating success is especially pro- nounced in species where both intraspecific and interspecific selection influence reproduction, such as the Siamese fighting fish. Males alter malemale interactions when either a male or female audience is pres- ent, but how males change their behavior toward a female when a rival male is present is unknown. This study addresses whether males alter their behavior toward a female in a way that would prevent a rival male from interrupting courtship. The behavior of male Siamese fighting fish toward a dummy female was examined under various degrees of visual cover, both in the presence and absence of a rival male, to investigate whether males use concealment provided by the structural environment to their advantage. While males did not use barriers to conceal courtship as hypothesized, males altered their behavior by increasing courtship and monitoring their nest when a rival was visible. This increase in courtship is in contrast to most studies on courtship in the presence of a rival that find a reduction in courtship behavior. Males spent more time opercular gill flaring when no barriers were present, suggesting that...
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This note was uploaded on 05/25/2011 for the course BIO 362 taught by Professor Henshaw during the Spring '11 term at Grand Valley State University.
- Spring '11