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Know thine enemy's neighbor: neighbor size affects floaters' choice of whom to fight


  • Richard N.C. Milner
  • Michael D. Jennions
  • Patricia R.Y. Backwell


It can be less costly to help a neighbor repel an intruder than to renegotiate boundaries with a new and potentially stronger individual. Male fiddler crabs will help a smaller neighbor fight off an intruder when the intruder is intermediate in size relative to the 2 neighbors. Fights involving neighbor coalitions are costly for an intruder because he rarely wins when a larger neighbor intervenes. It might therefore be expected that territory-seeking males will avoid fighting residents that have large neighbors. We found a strong effect of the neighbor's size on whether or not a territory-seeking male initiated a fight with a resident male. Although territorial coalitions in the fiddler crab Uca mjoebergi are relatively uncommon, the potential for them to occur appears to impose strong selection on the fighting decisions of territory-seeking males. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

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  • Richard N.C. Milner & Michael D. Jennions & Patricia R.Y. Backwell, 2011. "Know thine enemy's neighbor: neighbor size affects floaters' choice of whom to fight," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(5), pages 947-950.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:5:p:947-950

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    References listed on IDEAS

    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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