Communication in nature often occurs within a broad social network, as signals can be perceived by other individuals beyond the primary intended receiver. Because signals often contain information about the signaller's quality, receivers other than the primary intended receiver may use this information in future interactions with the signaller. As a result, individuals who adjust their behavior depending on who is present may experience a selective advantage. The social environment can therefore have an important influence on the evolution of communication signals. We examined how the presence of a female audience influenced male aggressive behavior and post-contest victory displays in the Jamaican field cricket, Gryllus assimilis. We found a significant effect of female audience on aggressive interactions. When there was a female audience present, males were more likely to initiate and escalate fights, but they spent less time producing victory displays, compared to when there was no audience present. Our experiment suggests that the social environment is important in shaping the behavior of individuals during aggressive interactions.

Additional Metadata
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2015.11.003
Journal Behavioural Processes
Citation
Montroy, K. (Kaitlyn), Loranger, M.J. (Michelle J.), & Bertram, S.M. (2016). Male crickets adjust their aggressive behavior when a female is present. Behavioural Processes, 124, 108–114. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2015.11.003