Rufous-and-white wrens Thryophilus rufalbus do not exhibit a dear enemy effects towards conspecific or heterospecific competitors
Many territorial animals exhibit reduced aggression towards neighbours. Known as “the dear enemy effect”, this phenomenon has been documented among conspecific animals across a wide range of animal taxa. In theory, the dear enemy effect can also exist between individuals of different species, particularly when those species compete for shared resources. To date, a heterospecific dear enemy effects has only been documented in ants. In this study, we test for both a conspecific and heterospecific dear enemy effect in neotropical rufous-and-white wrens Thryophilus rufalbus. This species competes for resources with banded wrens Thryophilus pleurostictus, a closely related sympatric congener. We used acoustic playback to simulate rufous- and-white wren and banded wren neighbours and non-neighbours at the edges of rufous-and-white wren territories. Rufous- and-white wrens responded more strongly to signals from their own species, demonstrating that resident males discriminate between conspecific and heterospecific rivals. They did not, however, exhibit a conspecific dear enemy effect. Further, they did not exhibit a heterospecific dear enemy effect. This could be due to neighbours and non-neighbours posing similar levels of threat in this system, to the possibility that playback from the edges of the subjects’ large territories did not simulate a threatening signal, or to other factors. Our study provides the first test of a heterospecific dear enemy effect in vertebrates, and presents a valuable experimental approach for testing for a heterospecific dear enemy effect in other animals © 2015 Current Zoology.
Battiston, Matthew M.; Wilson, David R.; Graham, Brendan A.; Kovach, Kristin A.; and Mennill, Daniel J., "Rufous-and-white wrens Thryophilus rufalbus do not exhibit a dear enemy effects towards conspecific or heterospecific competitors" (2015). Current Zoology, 61, 1, 23-33.