In several animal species, aggressive experience influences the characteristics and outcomes of subsequent conflicts, such that winners are more likely to win again (the winner effect) and losers more likely to lose again (the loser effect). We tested the olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae), as a model system to evaluate the role of the winner and loser effects in male-male territorial contests. Further, we conducted experiments to test if winning and losing probabilities are affected only by the outcome of the previous contests, or whether the fighting experience itself is sufficient to induce an effect. Both winners and losers of two consecutive encounters displayed higher intensity of aggression and fought longer in subsequent contests. In both cases, they achieved higher fighting success than naïve males. The enhanced fighting performance of both winners and losers was stimulated by merely experiencing a contest, not necessarily by the relative outcome of previous fights. Overall, this study highlights the fact that previous victories and defeats both enhance aggressive behaviour in olive fruit flies, allowing them to achieve higher fighting success in subsequent contests against inexperienced males.

Contest experience enhances aggressive behaviour in a fly: when losers learn to win

BENELLI, GIOVANNI;CONTE, GIUSEPPE;CANALE, ANGELO
2015

Abstract

In several animal species, aggressive experience influences the characteristics and outcomes of subsequent conflicts, such that winners are more likely to win again (the winner effect) and losers more likely to lose again (the loser effect). We tested the olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae), as a model system to evaluate the role of the winner and loser effects in male-male territorial contests. Further, we conducted experiments to test if winning and losing probabilities are affected only by the outcome of the previous contests, or whether the fighting experience itself is sufficient to induce an effect. Both winners and losers of two consecutive encounters displayed higher intensity of aggression and fought longer in subsequent contests. In both cases, they achieved higher fighting success than naïve males. The enhanced fighting performance of both winners and losers was stimulated by merely experiencing a contest, not necessarily by the relative outcome of previous fights. Overall, this study highlights the fact that previous victories and defeats both enhance aggressive behaviour in olive fruit flies, allowing them to achieve higher fighting success in subsequent contests against inexperienced males.
Benelli, Giovanni; Desneux, N.; Romano, D.; Conte, Giuseppe; Messing, R. H.; Canale, Angelo
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/721663
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