Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 65, Issue 2, pp 369–379 | Cite as

Sequential analysis of aggressive interactions in the stalk-eyed fly Teleopsis dalmanni

Original Paper

Abstract

Understanding the mechanisms and determinants of conflict resolution is of great theoretical and practical importance because the outcome of contests between males over limited resources such as mates, territories, and food has profound fitness consequences. Despite the large literature on the theory of conflict resolution, relatively few empirical studies explicitly test predictions related to contest structure for these models. In sexually dimorphic species of stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae), males engage in characteristic aggressive interactions over both females and food resources. We used sequential analysis of aggressive interactions between dyads of male stalk-eyed flies to investigate patterns of escalation, behavioral matching, and physical contact in order to distinguish between three common models of conflict resolution: the sequential assessment model, the cumulative assessment model, and the energetic war of attrition. Stalk-eyed flies were shown to engage in both low- and high-intensity behaviors during interactions with patterns of escalation and no de-escalation. Aggressive interactions did not demonstrate behavioral matching between winners and losers. Stalk-eyed flies also escalated to behaviors that included physical contact without injuries. Our results provide support for the sequential assessment model based on patterns of escalation with no de-escalation, behavioral mismatching, and behaviors which include physical contact but no injuries.

Keywords

Conflict resolution Assessment Aggression Stalk-eyed fly Sequential analysis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Sarah Magdanz and Kassidy Boyd for stalk-eyed fly care and maintenance and Amy Worthington for helping formulate the approach using sequential analysis for stalk-eyed flies and for comments throughout the writing process. Thank you to Jerry Wilkinson for providing pupae for our own colonies of flies and Sol Redlin for construction of the arenas where the interactions took place. We acknowledge Jerry Husak and Jake Kerby for comments and critiques on the many drafts of the manuscript. This research was conducted with support from a National Science Foundation CAREER award IOB-0448060 to John Swallow and grants to Yoni Brandt and John Swallow from The Center for Biomedical Research Excellence at the University of South Dakota and from the South Dakota National Aeronautics and Space Administration Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research.

Ethical standards

The work in this study was carried out with the highest ethical standards according to the laws of the country in which the work was performed.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

265_2010_1054_MOESM1_ESM.doc (42 kb)
Supplemental Table 1 Matrix of behaviors from the overall analysis of aggressive behaviors of stalk-eyed flies. Behaviors on the left are the preceding behavior in transition followed by the behavior listed at the top. For example, away is followed by line up eye stalks 122 times. Bolded numbers indicate significant transitions that occurred over 10% of the time (DOC 42 kb)

References

  1. Arnott G, Elwood RW (2009) Assessment of fighting ability in animal contests. Anim Behav 77:991–1004CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bakeman R, Gottman JM (1997) Observing interaction: an introduction to sequential analysis, 2nd edn. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baker RH, Denniff M, Futerman P, Foweler K, Pomiankowski A, Chapman T (2003) Accessory gland size influences time to sexual maturity and mating frequency in the stalk-eyed fly, Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni. Behav Ecol 14:607–611CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Blumstein DT, Daniel JC (2007) Quantifying behavior the JWatcher way. Sinauer Associates, Inc, SunderlandGoogle Scholar
  5. Blumstein DT, Daniel JC, Evans CS (2007) JWatcher. Available at http://www.jwatcher.ucla.edu/
  6. Brandt Y, Swallow JG (2009) Do elongated eye stalks of Diopsid flies facilitate rival assessment? Behav Ecol Sociobiol 63:1243–1246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Briffa M (2008) Decisions during fights in the house cricket, Acheta domesticus: mutual or self assessment of energy, weapons and size? Anim Behav 75:1053–1062CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Briffa M, Elwood RW (2000) Cumulative or sequential assessment during hermit crab shell fights: effects of oxygen on decision rules. Roy Soc Biol London 264:2445–2452CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Briffa M, Elwood RW (2009) Difficulties remain in distinguishing between mutual and self-assessment in animal contests. Anim Behav 77:759–762CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Burkhardt D, de la Motte I (1983) How stalk-eyed flies eye stalk-eyed flies: observations and measurements of the eyes of Cyrtodiopsis whitei (Diopsidae, Diptera). J Comp Physiol 151:407–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Castellan NJ Jr (1979) The analysis of behavior sequences. In: Cairns (ed) The analysis of social interactions: methods, issues, and illustrations. Robert B. Lawrence Erlbaum and Associates, Hillsdale, pp 81–116Google Scholar
  12. Chen S, Yeelin LA, Bowens NM, Huber R, Kravitz EA (2002) Fighting in fruit flies: a model system for the study of aggression. PNAS 99:5664–5668CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Clutton-Brock TH, Albon SD, Gibson RM, Guinness FE (1979) The logical stag: adaptive strategies of fighting in the red deer stag (Cervus elaphus L.). Anim Behav 27:211–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. De la Motte I, Burkhardt D (1983) Portrait of an Asian stalk-eyed fly. Naturwiss 70:451–461CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Dietemann V, Zheng H-Q, Hepburn C, Hepburn HR, Jin S-H (2008) Self assessment in insects: honeybee queens know their own strength. PLoS ONE 3:e1412. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0001412 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Emlen D (2008) The evolution of animal weapons. Annu Rev Ecol Evol Syst 39:387–413CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Enquist M (1985) Communication during aggressive interactions with particular reference to variation in choice of behaviour. Anim Behav 33(4):1152–1161Google Scholar
  18. Enquist M, Leimar O (1983) Evolution of fighting behaviour: decision rules and assessment of relative strength. J Theor Biol 102:387–410CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Enquist M, Leimar O, Ljungberg T, Mallner Y, Segerdahl N (1990) A test of the sequential assessment game: fighting in cichlid fish Nannacara anomala. Anim Behav 40:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Gammell MP, Hardy ICW (2003) Contest duration: sizing up the opposition? Trends Ecol Evol 18(10):491–493CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Geist V (1966) The evolution of horn-like organs. Behaviour 27(3/4):175–214Google Scholar
  22. Gottman JM, Bakeman R (1986) Observing interaction: an introduction to sequential analysis. Cambridge University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  23. Gottman JM, Roy AK (1990) Sequential analysis: a guide for behavioral researchers. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Hack MA (1997) Assessment strategies in the contests of male crickets, Acheta domesticus (L.). Anim Behav 53:733–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Huntingford F, Turner A (1987) Animal conflict. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  26. Jennings DJ, Gammell MP, Payne RJH, Hayden TJ (2005) An investigation of assessment games during fallow deer fights. Ethology 111:511–525CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Kelly CD (2006) Fighting for harems: assessment strategies during male–male contests in the sexually dimorphic Wellington tree weta. Anim Behav 72:727–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Marden JH, Waage JK (1989) Escalated damselfly territorial contests are energetic wars of attrition. Anim Behav 39(5):954–959CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. McAlpine DK (1979) Agonistic behavior in Achias australis (Diptera, Platystomatidae) and the significance of eyestalks. In: Otte, Alexander (eds) Sexual selection and reproductive competition in insects. Academic, New York, pp 221–230Google Scholar
  30. Meier R, Baker R (2002) A cladistic analysis of Diopsidae (Diptera) based on morphological and DNA sequence data. Insect Systematics and Evolution 33(3):325–336CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Mesterton-Gibbons M, Marden JH, Dugatkin LA (1996) On wars of attrition without assessment. J Theor Biol 181:65–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Morrell LJ, Backwell PRY, Metcalfe NB (2004) Fighting in fiddler crabs Uca mjoebergi: what determines duration? Anim Behav 70(3):653–662CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Panhuis T, Wilkinson G (1999) Exaggerated male eye span influences contest outcome in stalk-eyed flies (Diopsidae). Behav Ecol Sociobiol 46:221–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Payne RJH (1998) Gradually escalating fights and displays: the cumulative assessment model. Anim Behav 56:651–662CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Payne RJH, Pagel M (1996) Escalation and time costs in displays of endurance. J Theor Biol 183:185–193CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Payne RJH, Pagel M (1997) Why do animals repeat displays? Anim Behav 54:109–119CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  37. SAS Institute Inc. (2002–2004) SAS 9.1.3 help and documentation. SAS Institute Inc., CaryGoogle Scholar
  38. Slooten E (1994) Behavior of Hector's dolphin: classifying behavior by sequence analysis. J Mammal 75:956–964CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Small J, Cotton S, Fowler K, Pomiankowski A (2009) Male eyespan and resource ownership affect contest outcome in the stalk-eyed fly, Teleopsis dalmanni. Anim Behav 78:1213–1220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Stuart-Fox D (2006) Testing game theory models: fighting ability and decision rules in chameleon contests. P R Soc B 273:1555–1561CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Taylor PW, Elwood RW (2003) The mismeasure of animal contests. Anim Behav 65:1195–1202CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Wilkinson G (1993) Artificial sexual selection alters allometry in the stalk-eyed fly Cyrtodiopsis dalmanni (Diptera: Diopsidae). Genet Res Camb 62:213–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wilkinson G, Dodson G (1997) Function and evolution of antlers and eye stalks in flies. In: Choe J, Crespi (eds) The evolution of mating systems in insects and arachnids. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, pp 310–327Google Scholar
  44. Whitehouse MEA (1997) Experience influences male-male contests in the spider Argyrodes antipodiana (Theridiidae: Araneae). Anim Behav 53:913–923Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alison R. Egge
    • 1
  • Yoni Brandt
    • 1
  • John G. Swallow
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyThe University of South DakotaVermillionUSA

Personalised recommendations