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Schausberger, P; Gratzer, M; Strodl, MA.
(2017): Early social isolation impairs development, mate choice and grouping behaviour of predatory mites
ANIM BEHAV. 2017; 127: 15-21. FullText FullText_BOKU

The social environment early in life is a key determinant of developmental, physiological and behavioural trajectories across vertebrate and invertebrate animals. One crucial variable is the presence/absence of conspecifics. For animals usually reared in groups, social isolation after birth or hatching can be a highly stressful circumstance, with potentially long-lasting consequences. Here, we assessed the effects of social deprivation (isolation) early in life, that is, absence of conspecifics, versus social enrichment, that is, presence of conspecifics, on developmental time, body size at maturity, mating behaviour and groupliving in the plant-inhabiting predatory mite Phytoseiulus persimilis. Socially deprived protonymphs developed more slowly and were less socially competent in grouping behaviour than socially enriched protonymphs. Compromised social competence in grouping behaviour was evident in decreased activity, fewer mutual encounters and larger interindividual distances, all of which may entail severe fitness costs. In female choice/male competition, socially deprived males mated earlier than socially enriched males; in male choice/female competition, socially deprived females were more likely to mate than socially enriched females. In neither mate choice situation did mating duration or body size at maturity differ between socially deprived and enriched mating opponents. Social isolation-induced shifts in mating behaviour may be interpreted as increased attractiveness or competitiveness or, more likely, as hastiness and reduced ability to assess mate quality. Overall, many of the social isolation-induced behavioural changes in P. persimilis are analogous to those observed in other animals such as cockroaches, fruit flies, fishes or rodents. We argue that, due to their profound and persistent effects, early social deprivation or enrichment may be important determinants in shaping animal personalities. (C) 2017 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Authors BOKU Wien:
Gratzer Marian Johannes
Schausberger Peter
Strodl Markus Andreas

Find related publications in this database (Keywords)
group living
social deprivation
social enrichment

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