Prospecting precedes dispersal and increases survival chances in cooperatively breeding cichlids

Jungwirth, Arne Matthias; Walker, Jonas; Taborsky, Michael (2015). Prospecting precedes dispersal and increases survival chances in cooperatively breeding cichlids. Animal behaviour, 106, pp. 107-114. Elsevier Ltd. 10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.05.005

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When and where to disperse is a major life history decision with crucial fitness consequences. Before dispersing, individuals may benefit from checking the suitability of potential future habitats. In highly social species, such prospecting may be directed towards other groups rather than alternative habitats. This may increase familiarity with neighbours and help individuals to successfully integrate into their group. Previous research on the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher revealed that individuals frequently engage in between-group prospecting. In this study, a combination of long-term observational data and experimental manipulations in the natural habitat of these fish suggests that prospecting increases survival, improves familiarity with members of neighbouring groups and serves to prepare individuals for between-group dispersal. Our findings highlight that dispersal in cooperative breeders can be a complex process involving interactions of potential dispersers with members of both the current group and groups that are possible targets of dispersal. Members of these groups may have divergent fitness interests regarding decisions of potentially dispersing individuals, which may have selected for the subtle preparation for intergroup dispersal observed in these cooperative cichlids.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE) > Behavioural Ecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Jungwirth, Arne Matthias; Walker, Jonas and Taborsky, Michael

Subjects:

500 Science > 590 Animals (Zoology)
500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology

ISSN:

0003-3472

Publisher:

Elsevier Ltd.

Language:

English

Submitter:

Karin Schneeberger

Date Deposited:

27 Sep 2016 11:30

Last Modified:

27 Sep 2016 11:30

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.anbehav.2015.05.005

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.88752

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/88752

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