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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


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.

Suggested Citation

  • C. Le Lann & Y. Outreman & J.J.M. van Alphen & J. van Baaren, 2011. "First in, last out: asymmetric competition influences patch exploitation of a parasitoid," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(1), pages 101-107.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:1:p:101-107

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    1. Bates, Douglas & M├Ąchler, Martin & Bolker, Ben & Walker, Steve, 2015. "Fitting Linear Mixed-Effects Models Using lme4," Journal of Statistical Software, Foundation for Open Access Statistics, vol. 67(i01).
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