Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology is a peer-reviewed scientific journal covering quantitative, empirical, and theoretical studies in the field of analysis of animal behavior at the levels of the individual, population, and community.[1]

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology journal low res cover
DisciplineEcology, ethology, sociobiology
Edited byTheo C. M. Bakker, James F. A. Traniello
Publication details
Publication history
Standard abbreviations
Behav. Ecol. Sociobiol.
ISSN0340-5443 (print)
1432-0762 (web)
OCLC no.39604965

Abstracting and indexing

The journal is abstracted and indexed in:

According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2010 impact factor of 2.565.[2]


  1. ^ "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology" Check |url= value (help). ULRICHSWEB. ProQuest. Retrieved 28 October 2011.
  2. ^ "Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology". 2010 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2011.

External links

Official website

Apis florea

The dwarf honey bee (or red dwarf honey bee), Apis florea, is one of two species of small, wild honey bees of southern and southeastern Asia. It has a much wider distribution than its sister species, Apis andreniformis. First identified in the late 18th century, Apis florea is unique for its morphology, foraging behavior and defensive mechanisms like making a piping noise. Apis florea have open nests and small colonies, which makes them more susceptible to predation than cavity nesters with large numbers of defensive workers. These honey bees are important pollinators and therefore commodified in countries like Cambodia.

Blue-footed booby

The blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) is a marine bird native to subtropical and tropical regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is one of six species of the genus Sula – known as boobies. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male and can measure up to 90 cm (35 in) long with a wingspan of up to 1.5 m (5 ft).The natural breeding habitats of the blue-footed booby are the tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. It can be found from the Gulf of California down along the western coasts of Central and South America down to Peru. Approximately one half of all breeding pairs nest on the Galápagos Islands. Its diet mainly consists of fish, which it obtains by diving and sometimes swimming underwater in search of its prey. It sometimes hunts alone, but usually hunts in groups.

The blue-footed booby usually lays one to three eggs at a time. The species practices asynchronous hatching, in contrast to many other species whereby incubation begins when the last egg is laid and all chicks hatch together. This results in a growth inequality and size disparity between siblings, leading to facultative siblicide in times of food scarcity. This makes the blue-footed booby an important model for studying parent–offspring conflict and sibling rivalry.

Displacement (linguistics)

In linguistics, displacement is the capability of language to communicate about things that are not immediately present (spatially or temporally); i.e., things that are either not here or are not here now.

In 1960, Charles F. Hockett proposed displacement as one of 13 design features of language that distinguish human language from animal communication systems (ACSs):

Man is apparently almost unique in being able to talk about things that are remote in space or time (or both) from where the talking goes on. This feature—"displacement"—seems to be definitely lacking in the vocal signaling of man's closest relatives, though it does occur in bee-dancing.

Fission–fusion society

In ethology, a fission–fusion society is one in which the size and composition of the social group change as time passes and animals move throughout the environment; animals merge into a group (fusion)—e.g. sleeping in one place—or split (fission)—e.g. foraging in small groups during the day. For species that live in fission–fusion societies, group composition is a dynamic property. The change in composition, subgroup size, and dispersion of different groups are 3 main elements of a fission-fusion society.

This social organization is found in several primates, elephants, cetaceans, ungulates, social carnivores, some birds and some fish.

Greater false vampire bat

The greater false vampire bat (Megaderma lyra) is a species of bat in the family Megadermatidae, the false vampire bats. It is native to Asia. It is also known as the Indian false vampire bat or greater false-vampire

Hubert Markl

Hubert Simon Markl (17 August 1938 – 8 January 2015) was a German biologist who also served as President of the Max Planck Society from 1996 to 2002.

Italian tree frog

The Italian tree frog (Hyla intermedia) is a species of frog in the family Hylidae, found in Italy, Slovenia, Switzerland, and possibly San Marino. Its natural habitats are temperate forests, rivers, intermittent rivers, freshwater marshes, intermittent freshwater marshes, arable land, and urban areas. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Larval hemolymph feeding

Larval hemolymph feeding is a behaviour trait found in the queens of some species of ant. This is found mainly in the ants of the subfamily Amblyoponinae and give them the other name of Dracula ant. In colonies of the Amblyopone silvestrii the queens feed on the hemolymph (or insect blood, also spelt haemolymph) of their larvae when food is not available. This is said to be a precursor to trophallaxis in other ant families. The larvae themselves are not killed by this process. This behaviour is also seen in Proceratium and in Leptanilla the larvae have special organs that exude the haemolymph. are exclusively dependent on the hemolymph of their own larvae as a nutrient, even when prey feeding is possible. On the other hand, the foundresses suppress larval hemolymph feeding (LHF) when prey is available, allowing them to rear the first workers more swiftly. The nondestructive form of cannibalism can be regarded as a nutritive adaptation related to: (1) the lack of social food transfer in this species, and (2) its specialized predation on large sporadic prey (centipedes). LHF similar to that in Amblyopone was found in Proceratium and another type of LHF, with a larval specialized exudatory organ, in Leptanilla.

Lek mating

A lek is an aggregation of male animals gathered to engage in competitive displays, lekking, to entice visiting females which are surveying prospective partners for copulation. Leks are commonly formed before or during the breeding season. A lekking species is characterised by male displays, strong female mate choice, and the conferring of indirect benefits to males. Although most prevalent among birds such as black grouse, lekking is also found in insects including paper wasps, crustaceans, fishes, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

A classical lek consists of male territories in visual and auditory range of each other. An exploded lek, as seen in the kakapo (the owl parrot), has more widely separated territories, but still in auditory range.

Lekking is associated with an apparent paradox: strong sexual selection by females for specific male traits ought to erode genetic diversity by Fisherian runaway, but diversity is maintained and runaway does not occur. Many attempts have been made to explain it away, but the paradox remains.

Multiple sexual ornaments

Many species have multiple sexual ornaments, whereby females select mating partners using several cues instead of only one cue. Whereas this phenomenon is self-evident and hence long recognized, adaptive explanations of why females use several instead of only one signal have been formulated relatively recently. Several hypotheses exist, but mutually exclusive tests are still lacking.

Operational sex ratio

In the evolutionary biology of sexual reproduction, operational sex ratio (OSR) is the ratio of sexually competing males that are ready to mate to sexually competing females that are ready to mate, or alternatively the local ratio of fertilizable females to sexually active males at any given time. This differs from physical sex ratio which simply includes all individuals, including those that are sexually inactive or do not compete for mates.

The theory of OSR hypothesizes that the operational sex ratio affects the mating competition of males and females in a population. This concept is especially useful in the study of sexual selection since it is a measure of how intense sexual competition is in a species, and also in the study of the relationship of sexual selection to sexual dimorphism. The OSR is closely linked to the "potential rate of reproduction" of the two sexes; that is, how fast they each could reproduce in ideal circumstances. Usually variation in potential reproductive rates creates bias in the OSR and this in turn will affect the strength of selection. The OSR is said to be biased toward a particular sex when sexually ready members of that sex are more abundant. For example, a male-biased OSR means that there are more sexually competing males than sexually competing females.

Polyandry in nature

In behavioral ecology, polyandry is a class of mating system where one female mates with several males in a breeding season. Polyandry is often compared to the polygyny system based on the cost and benefits incurred by members of each sex. Polygyny is where one male mates with several females in a breeding season (e.g., lions, deer, some primates, and many systems where there is an alpha male).

A common example of polyandrous mating can be found in the field cricket (Gryllus bimaculatus) of the invertebrate order Orthoptera (containing crickets, grasshoppers, and groundhoppers). Polyandrous behavior is also prominent in many other insect species, including the red flour beetle and the species of spider Stegodyphus lineatus. Polyandry also occurs in some primates such as marmosets, mammal groups, the marsupial genus' Antechinus and bandicoots, around 1% of all bird species, such as jacanas and dunnocks, insects such as honeybees, and fish such as pipefish.

Raft spider

The raft spider, scientific name Dolomedes fimbriatus, is a large semi-aquatic spider of the family Pisauridae found throughout north-western and central Europe. It is one of only two species of the genus Dolomedes found in Europe, the other being the slightly larger Dolomedes plantarius which is endangered in the UK.

Sexual selection in birds

Sexual selection in birds concerns how birds have evolved a variety of mating behaviors, with the peacock tail being perhaps the most famous example of sexual selection and the Fisherian runaway. Commonly occurring sexual dimorphisms such as size and color differences are energetically costly attributes that signal competitive breeding situations. Many types of avian sexual selection have been identified; intersexual selection, also known as female choice; and intrasexual competition, where individuals of the more abundant sex compete with each other for the privilege to mate. Sexually selected traits often evolve to become more pronounced in competitive breeding situations until the trait begins to limit the individual’s fitness. Conflicts between an individual fitness and signaling adaptations ensure that sexually selected ornaments such as plumage coloration and courtship behavior are “honest” traits. Signals must be costly to ensure that only good-quality individuals can present these exaggerated sexual ornaments and behaviors.Bird species often demonstrate intersexual selection, perhaps because - due to their lightweight body structures - fights between males may be ineffective or impractical. Therefore, male birds commonly use the following methods to try to seduce the females:

Colour: Some species have ornate, diverse, and often colourful feathers.

Song: Male birdsong provides an important way of protecting territory (intrasexual selection).

Nest construction: In some species, males build nests that females subject to rigorous inspection, choosing the male that makes the most attractive nest.

Dance: Males dance in front of females. Cranes provide a well-known example.As a propagandist, the cock behaves as though he knew that it was as advantageous to impress the males as the females of his species, and a sprightly bearing with fine feathers and triumphant song are quite as well adapted for war-propaganda as for courtship. —Ronald Fisher, 1930

In some bird species, both the male and the female contribute a great deal to offspring-care. In these cases, the male and female will be continuously assessing each other based on sexual characteristics. In the blue-footed booby, the females tend to choose males with brighter blue feet, because birds with brighter feet are younger, and thus have greater fertility and ability to provide paternal care. When researchers put make-up on the males' feet to make them look duller after the laying of the first eggs, their mates consequently laid smaller second eggs, which shows that female boobies continuously evaluate their mates' reproductive value. Males also vary their behaviour based on the females' foot colour. Males mated to females with brighter feet are more willing to incubate their eggs.

Sexual selection in scaled reptiles

Sexual selection in scaled reptiles studies how sexual selection manifests in snakes and lizards, which constitute the order Squamata of reptiles. Each of the over three thousand snakes use different tactics in acquiring mates. Ritual combat between males for the females they want to mate with includes topping, a behavior exhibited by most viperids in which one male will twist around the vertically elevated fore body of its opponent and forcing it downward. It is common for neck biting to occur while the snakes are entwined.

Spatial organization

Spatial organization can be observed when components of an abiotic or biological group are arranged non-randomly in space. Abiotic patterns, such as the ripple formations in sand dunes or the oscillating wave patterns of the Belousov-Zhabotinsky reaction emerge after thousands of particles interact millions of times. On the other hand, individuals in biological groups may be arranged non-randomly due to selfish behavior, dominance interactions, or cooperative behavior. W. D. Hamilton (1971) proposed that in a non-related "herd" of animals, spatial organization is likely a result of the selfish interests of individuals trying to acquire food or avoid predation. On the other hand, spatial arrangements have also been observed among highly related members of eusocial groups, suggesting that the arrangement of individuals may provide some advantage for the group.


Sturnus is a genus of starlings. As discussed below, the taxonomy of this group is complex, and other authorities differ considerably in which species they place in this genus, and in the species boundaries within Sturnus. The genus name Sturnus is the Latin for "starling".This genus has representatives across most of Eurasia and one species, the European starling, has been introduced to South Africa, North America, Australia and New Zealand. The more northerly breeding species are completely or partially migratory, wintering in warmer regions.

The Sturnus starlings are terrestrial species; they walk rather than hop, and have modifications to the skull and its muscles for open-bill probing. The latter adaptation has facilitated the spread of this genus from humid tropical southern Asia to cooler regions of Europe and Asia.

Starlings nest in holes in trees or buildings. They are omnivorous and mostly feed on the ground; they specialise in taking invertebrates from just below the surface. This is facilitated by the head adaptations mentioned above, which enable the birds to probe with the bill open, closing it to secure prey items. The plumages within this group are variable, but all the species have the starling's familiar triangular wing shape. They are capable of imitating many sounds and they have been recorded mimicking sounds such as that of a squeaky door.

Tremble dance

A tremble dance is a dance performed by forager honey bees of the species Apis mellifera to recruit more receiver honey bees to collect nectar from the workers.The tremble dance was first described by Karl von Frisch in the 1920s (who was also first to describe the waggle dance), but no light was shed on its function until 1993 when Wolfgang Kirschner discovered that, when performed, the dance stopped nearby workers from flying to gather more nectar.The tremble dance of the honeybee is similar to the waggle dance, but is used by a forager when the foraging bee perceives a long delay in unloading its nectar or a shortage of receiver bees, sometimes due to low numbers of receiver bees. It may also spread the scent released during the forager's waggle dance. Like the waggle dance, the tremble dance is likely one of two "primary regulation mechanisms" for regulating bee colony behavior at the group level, and one of four or five observed mechanisms known to be used by honeybees to change the task allocation among worker bees. The consumption of ethanol by foraging bees has been shown to increase the occurrence of the tremble dance while decreasing the occurrence of the waggle dance.

Worker policing

Worker policing is a behavior seen in colonies of social hymenopterans (ants, bees, and wasps) whereby worker females eat or remove eggs that have been laid by other workers rather than those laid by a queen. Worker policing ensures that the offspring of the queen will predominate in the group. In certain species of bees, ants and wasps, workers or the queen may also act aggressively towards fertile workers. Worker policing has been suggested as a form of coercion to promote the evolution of altruistic behavior in eusocial insect societies.Proposed mechanisms for the recognition of worker-laid eggs or active reproductive workers include marker hydrocarbons on the surface of queen-laid eggs, cuticle hydrocarbons on reproductive workers, and recognition of nest-mates. In rare cases, worker-laid eggs carry mimicked queen hydrocarbons and escape policing, a condition known as the anarchic syndrome.Not all forms of policing require the presence of a queen; it also occurs in a few species of ants which establish a dominance hierarchy of reproductive female workers, where top-ranking individuals reproduce.

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