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First in, last out: asymmetric competition influences patch exploitation of a parasitoid

  • C. Le Lann
  • Y. Outreman
  • J.J.M. van Alphen
  • J. van Baaren
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    Parasitoid females exploiting a patchy environment may encounter conspecifics on the host patches they visit or arrive in patches where other females have already parasitized hosts. When 2 or more foragers with differential arrivals exploit a resource patch simultaneously, the solution for the evolutionary stable patch residence times is the outcome of an asymmetric war of attrition. A theoretical prediction is that the forager that arrives first should stay longer than those arriving later, as a result of a resource value asymmetry. This study aims to examine how the arrival order on a host patch affects patch time in the solitary aphid parasitoid Aphidius ervi. For this purpose, 3 situations of competition were tested: single individuals foraging on unexploited patches (no competition), individuals foraging on previously exploited patches, and individuals exploiting patches in the presence of a competitor. Our data confirm the theoretical prediction: first-arriving females stay longer on a patch of hosts than second-arriving females. Neither host rejections nor host attacks affect patch-leaving decisions of females, but foraging with a competitor and previous encounters with a competitor increase the patch residence time of first-arriving females. This experiment is the first to test the effect of arrival order on patch exploitation strategies in nonfighting species. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1093/beheco/arq180
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    Article provided by International Society for Behavioral Ecology in its journal Behavioral Ecology.

    Volume (Year): 22 (2011)
    Issue (Month): 1 ()
    Pages: 101-107

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    Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:101-107
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