Thursday, April 27, 2023

A Photo Gallery And The Scientific Paper: Insects On The Attack

Environmental & Science Education, STEM, Behavior, Wildlife, Nature, History of Science, Nature of Science

Ed Hessler

There are two links here.

The first is a Photo Gallery. The gallery title is "Insects of Different Species  Attack Each Other" by Meredith Root-Bernstein. The "brochure for the gallery, the study description, notes that "with a little patience, it is not difficult to observe flower-visiting insects (potential pollinators) attacking each other on flowers with varying degrees of aggression. However, this phenomenon has never been studied.....

The second links to the first scientific paper on this behavior which is completely accessible. It is a technical paper but you may want to learn more about the study. I point out two tables and a chart to peruse.

Table 1 includes the designations for the behaviors observed, their description and the behavior that resulted. Table 2 includes a list of the morphospecies observed (what it says it is but click the link for more details) - form and structure), family, and species examples. Further down there is a chart showing propensity to "aggressive behaviors."

The author's closing remarks provide a summary, possibilities for further research and a recommendation. "The observed interspecific (between species) dominance hierarchy in urban parks in Paris confirmed previous nonsystematic observations in a suburban garden on another continent with a substantially different and perhaps more biodiverse flower-visiting fauna (i.e., more beetles and butterflies). Further extending and refining the methodology to include finer morphospecies categories, more diverse habitats, weather conditions, species assemblages, and other parts of the world might reveal the factors influencing the formation and maintenance of interspecific dominance hierarchies by flower-visiting insects on flowers.

"The observation that the baseline behaviors are “neutral,” implying the least energy expenditure, along with the finding that sunshine and wind increase the rate of aggression, suggests that these aggressive behaviors could be partially explained by ethological accounts of arousal and stress. A fuller explanation that describes cost/benefit strategies of interspecific aggression among flower-visiting insects awaits elaboration. In addition, our observations suggest that the literature on interspecific aggressive interference should incorporate interspecies agonistic (conflict) hierarchies." (my italics)

A wonderful pairing. Don't forget to check the author's affiliations and positions, too.


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