Natal social environment influences habitat selection later in life
Habitat selection is an important decision in the life histories of many animals and has implications for many issues in ecology, evolution and conservation biology. Natal experiences may shape adult habitat selection behaviours, but the effects of natal social environment on these decisions are largely unknown. Here we provide an experimental test of the effects of natal social experience on adult habitat selection in the cactus bug, Chelinidea vittiger (Hemiptera: Coreidae). We found that females reared in groups were more likely to forage socially as adults than females that were reared alone; however, males consistently avoided joining conspecifics regardless of natal social experience. Our work reveals that cues gathered early in life can have effects that extend across life stages to influence adult habitat selection and social behaviours. Furthermore, the discovery of these patterns in a subsocial invertebrate demonstrates that adult responsiveness to natal social conditions is not restricted to highly social species, and may be common across taxa. © 2011 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour.
Miller, CW; Fletcher, RJ; Anderson, BD; Nguyen, LD
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