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Interference competition in a sexually dimorphic shorebird: prey behaviour explains intraspecific competition
Duijns, S.; Piersma, T. (2014). Interference competition in a sexually dimorphic shorebird: prey behaviour explains intraspecific competition. Anim. Behav. 92: 195-201.
In: Animal Behaviour. Academic Press: London,. ISSN 0003-3472; e-ISSN 1095-8282, meer
Peer reviewed article  

Beschikbaar in  Auteurs 

    Arenicola marina (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]; Limosa lapponica (Linnaeus, 1758) [WoRMS]
Author keywords
    Arenicola marina; intertidal ecology; Limosa lapponica; sexual size dimorphism (SSD)

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    When males and females come in distinct sizes and shapes they often forage at different sites, selecting different prey. In the sexually dimorphic bar-tailed godwit, Limosa lapponica, females generally forage along the tideline, whereas the smaller (and subordinate) males generally forage across dry mudflats. On this basis we predicted that interference competition would occur within, rather than between, the sexes. We tested whether density-dependent aspects of foraging behaviour are indeed sex specific and additionally examined the roles of sex-specific prey types. With increasing conspecific densities, intake rates levelled off in females, but not in males. At increasing densities, both sexes engaged in more agonistic interactions, but females more than males. Consequently, females lost more foraging time than males. However, time lost to interactions could not explain the density-dependent decrease in their intake rate. As lugworms, Arenicola marina, contributed 71% to the energy intake of females and 18% in males, we experimentally tested whether the burying behaviour of lugworms explained the sex difference in interference. Both in the field and in the laboratory, lugworms responded to probes. In experimentally probed plots in the field, lugworms produced fewer casts per unit time, indicating a decrease in near-surface presence. In laboratory settings, increased experimental probing intensity resulted in deeper burying by lugworms. We therefore argue that prey depression is responsible for most of the reduction in intake rates of females foraging at high conspecific densities. The search for undisturbed shallow-living lugworms would explain why female bar-tailed godwits tend to forage along the moving tideline

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