Variable responses of hawkmoths to nectar-depleted plants in two native Petunia axillaris (Solanaceae) populations
2011, Brandenburg, Anna, Bshary, Redouan
Pollination success of deceptive orchids is affected by the density and distribution of nectar providing plant species and overall plant density. Here we extended the framework of how plant density can affect pollination to examine how it may promote the success of plant intraspecific cheaters. We compared hawkmoth behaviour in two native populations of Petunia axillaris, where we simultaneously offered rewarding and manually depleted P. axillaris. We asked whether pollinator foraging strategies change as a function of plant density and whether such changes may differentially affect nectarless plants. We observed the first choice and number of flowers visited by pollinators and found that in the dense population, pollinators visited more flowers on rewarding plants than on nectar-depleted plants. In the sparse population, such discrimination was absent. As we found no differences in nectar volume between plants of the two populations, the observed differences in plant density may be temporal. We reason that if differences were more permanent, an equivalent of the remote habitat hypothesis prevails: in a sparse population, cheating plants benefit from the absence of inter- and intraspecific competitors because pollinators tend to visit all potential resources. In a denser population, a pollinator’s optimal foraging strategy involves more selectivity. This would cause between-plant competition for pollinators in a pollinator-limited context, which applies to most hawkmoth-pollinated systems. We propose that nectar-provisioning of plants can be density-dependant, with cheaters able to persist in low density areas.
Experimental evidence that partner choice is a driving force in the payoff distribution among cooperators or mutualists : the cleaner fish case
2001, Bshary, Redouan, Grutter, Alexandra S.
Supply and demand largely determine the price of goods on human markets. It has been proposed that in animals, similar forces influence the payoff distribution between trading partners in sexual selection, intraspecific cooperation and interspecific mutualism. Here we present the first experimental evidence supporting biological market theory in a study on cleaner fish, Labroides dimidiatus. Cleaners interact with two classes of clients: choosy client species with access to several cleaners usually do not queue for service and do not return if ignored, while resident client species with access to only one cleaning station do queue or return. We used plexiglas plates with equal amounts of food to simulate these behaviours of the two client classes. Cleaners soon inspected 'choosy' plates before 'resident' plates. This supports previous field observations that suggest that client species with access to several cleaners exert choice to receive better (immediate) service.
Cleaner wrasse prefer client mucus : support for partner control mechanisms in cleaning interactions
2003-11-07, Grutter, Alexandra S., Bshary, Redouan
Recent studies on cleaning behaviour suggest that there are conflicts between cleaners and their clients over what cleaners eat. The diet of cleaners usually contains ectoparasites and some client tissue. It is unclear, however, whether cleaners prefer client tissue over ectoparasites or whether they include client tissue in their diet only when searching for parasites alone is not profitable. To distinguish between these two hypotheses, we trained cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus to feed from plates and offered them client mucus from the parrotfish Chlorurus sordidus, parasitic monogenean flatworms, parasitic gnathiid isopods and boiled flour glue as a control. We found that cleaners ate more mucus and monogeneans than gnathiids, with gnathiids eaten slightly more often than the control substance. Because gnathiids are the most abundant ectoparasites, our results suggest a potential for conflict between cleaners and clients over what the cleaner should eat, and support studies emphasizing the importance of partner control in keeping cleaning interactions mutualistic.
Biting cleaner fish use altruism to deceive image-scoring client reef fish
2002-10-22, Bshary, Redouan
Humans are more likely to help those who they have observed helping others previously. Individuals may thus benefit from being altruistic without direct reciprocity of recipients but due to gains in 'image' and associated indirect reciprocity. I suggest, however, that image-scoring individuals may be exploitable by cheaters if pay-offs vary between interactions. I illustrate this point with data on cleaner–client reef fish interactions. I show the following: (i) there is strong variation between cleaners with respect to cheating of clients (i.e. feeding on client tissue instead of parasites); (ii) clients approach cleaners, that they observe cooperating with their current client and avoid cleaners that they observe cheating; (iii) cleaners that cheat frequently are avoided more frequently than more cooperative cleaners; (iv) cleaners that cheat frequently behave altruistically towards their smallest client species; (v) altruistic acts are followed by exploitative interactions. Thus, it appears that cleaners indeed have an image score, which selects for cooperative cleaners. However, cheating cleaners use altruism in potentially low-pay-off interactions to deceive and attract image-scoring clients that will be exploited.
Cleaner fish Labroides dimidiatus manipulate client reef fish by providing tactile stimulation
2001-07-22, Bshary, Redouan, Würth, Manuela Würth
The cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus often touches 'client' reef fish dorsal fin areas with its pelvic and pectoral fins. The relative spatial positions of cleaner and client remain constant and the cleaner's head points away from the client's body. Therefore, this behaviour is not compatible with foraging and the removal of client ectoparasites. As clients seek such 'tactile stimulation', it can be classified as an interspecific socio-positive behaviour. Our field observations on 12 cleaners (observation time of 112h) suggest that cleaners use tactile stimulation in order to successfully (i) alter client decisions over how long to stay for an inspection, and (ii) stop clients from fleeing or aggressive chasing of the cleaner in response to a cleaner fish bite that made them jolt. Finally, predatory clients receive tactile stimulation more often than non-predatory clients, which might be interpreted as an extra service that cleaners give to specific partners as pre-conflict management, as these partners would be particularly dangerous if they started a conflict. We therefore propose that cleaner fish use interspecific social strategies, which have so far been reported only from mammals, particularly primates.
Building up relationships in asymmetric co-operation games between the cleaner wrasse Labroides dimidiatus and client reef fish
2002, Bshary, Redouan
It has been suggested that individuals may prevent partners from cheating by building up relationships slowly, giving very little in the beginning and raising the stakes in subsequent moves if partners reciprocate. I tested this idea with field experiments on the cleaner-fish Labroides dimidiatus and its "client" reef fish. Clients visit cleaners at their small territories, so-called cleaning stations, to have parasites removed. Cleaners were first observed and then caught and either put back on their original territory or moved to a new site. I noted a variety of cleaner and client behaviour to evaluate how, if at all, relationships are built up. Cleaners and resident clients indeed build up relationships, but with heavy initial investment. There was no evidence that cleaners build up relationships with client species that have access to several cleaners. Finally, it appeared that cleaners constantly invest in relationships with predatory clients, possibly to reduce the risk that predators try to catch them. I propose that asymmetries between partners with respect to either payoff values or strategic options are the major reason why the results do not fit the so-called raising-the-stakes strategy.