Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 64, Issue 3, pp 361–369 | Cite as

Effect of losing on male fights of broad-horned flour beetle, Gnatocerus cornutus

Original Paper


Experience-dependent tactics of males trying to gain access to females were examined in the beetle Gnatocerus cornutus, which engages in male–male fighting for mates. In male fights, subsequent behavior is modified by winning and losing experiences. Males, therefore, may choose between several behavioral tactics to obtain a mate, based on his previous fighting experience. In G. cornutus, we examined for how long aggressive behaviors were modified by experiences of winning or losing, i.e., the duration of the prior experience effect. Losing decreased a male's frequency of fighting for 4 days, and few defeated males fought any male regardless of the opponent's size. By the fifth day, this effect disappeared. No modulation of male behavior due to winning was observed. Furthermore, the experience of losing not only decreased a male's aggressiveness but also switched the male behavior from fighting to dispersal from the fight site to another site. In future, it is necessary to clarify why the optimal term of the losing experience is 4 days in this beetle.


Alternative phenotype Combat Learning Male dimorphism Weapon 



We thank Drs. Rob Knell, Kenji Matsuura, Zenobia Lewis, and Michael Siva-Jothy for valuable comments and Dr. A. Miyanoshita (National Food Research Institute, Japan) for providing the beetle culture. This study was partially supported by Research Fellowships for Young Scientists (JSPS 195563) to K.O. and by KAKENHI 19370011 and 19657026, Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, (JSPS and MEXT) to T.M.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Evolutionary Ecology, Graduate School of Environmental ScienceOkayama UniversityOkayamaJapan

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