Canadian Journal of Zoology (2002) 80, 409-417

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P. Nosil (2002)
Food fights in house crickets, Acheta domesticus, and the effects of body size and hunger level
Canadian Journal of Zoology 80 (3), 409-417
Abstract: Animals often compete directly with conspecifics for food resources, and fighting success can be positively related to relative resource-holding power (RHP) and relative resource value (i.e., motivation to fight). Despite the ease of manipulating resource value during fights over food (by manipulating hunger levels), most studies have focused on male fighting in relation to gaining access to mates. In this study, pairwise contests over single food items were used to examine the effects of being the first to acquire a resource, relative body mass, relative body size (femur length), and relative level of food deprivation (i.e., hunger) on competitive feeding ability in male and female house crickets, Acheta domesticus. Only when the food pellet was movable did acquiring the resource first improve fighting success. When the pellet was fastened to the test arena, increased relative hunger level and high relative body mass both increased the likelihood of a takeover. However, the effects of body mass disappeared when scaled to body size. When the attacker and defender were equally hungry, larger relative body size increased takeover success but, when the attacker was either more or less hungry, body size had little effect on the likelihood of a takeover. Thus fight outcomes were dependent on an interaction between RHP and motivational asymmetries and on whether the resource was movable or stationary. Contest duration was not related to the magnitude of morphological differences between opponents, suggesting that assessment of fighting ability may be brief or nonexistent during time-limited animal contests over food items.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Acheta domesticus