Competitive superiority versus predation savvy: the two sides of behavioural lateralization

Chivers, Douglas P., McCormick, Mark I., Warren, Donald T., Allan, Bridie J. M., Ramasamy, Ryan A., Arvizu, Brittany K., Glue, Matthew, and Ferrari, Maud C.O. (2017) Competitive superiority versus predation savvy: the two sides of behavioural lateralization. Animal Behaviour, 130. pp. 9-15.

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Many animals respond differentially to stimuli on one side of their body compared to the other. This is a reflection of being lateralized, and is a feature common in vertebrates. Given that any particular stimulus that an animal encounters, be it food, a predator or a competitor, has an equal probability of coming from either side of the body, there may be negative selection for lateralization. However, the costs of lateralization may be offset if being lateralized confers a considerable advantage in other contexts, including cognition. Here, we showed that learned responses of juvenile ambon damselfish, Pomacentrus amboinensis, to a novel predator was strongly influenced by the degree of lateralization. While both lateralized and nonlateralized fish were able to learn the predator, lateralized fish showed much stronger responses to the learned predator than nonlateralized fish. When we paired lateralized and nonlateralized fish and allowed them to interact over a shelter resource, we observed that lateralized fish were poorer competitors. They attacked less often, showed fewer displays and exhibited greater avoidance of their competitor. For many gregarious species, the expression of lateralization likely reflects a fine balance of competing selection pressures. Our work highlights the need for integrative studies.

Item ID: 50420
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1095-8282
Keywords: competition, coral reef, damselfish, lateralization, learning, predator recognition, risk assessment
Funders: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Australian Research Council (ARC), ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Date Deposited: 20 Sep 2017 08:46
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960808 Marine Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 100%
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