Behaviour 2019
Investigating Feedbacks Between the Production and Use of Social Information in D. Melanogaster
Marina Hutchins, Julia Saltz. Rice University, Houston, TX, United States

Social behaviors often take place in an environment where conspecifics are able to observe interactions between others and extract information from their behavior. Audience effects show that demonstrators may alter their behavior in the presence of another individual (an eavesdropper); however, we know much less about how sensitive these audience effects are to the genetic makeup of the eavesdroppers, which can influence the behaviors of demonstrators through indirect genetic effects. The question also remains whether and how eavesdroppers utilize these signals to inform their own behavior. I have performed a series of experiments with Drosophila melanogaster to understand how an eavesdropper can influence and exploit information produced from an aggressive contest. We found that males are less aggressive when observed by a male eavesdropper, compared to a female or no eavesdropper. We also found that the genotype of the eavesdropping fly significantly influenced demonstrators’ aggressive behavior. By identifying how social information is used and influenced by individuals, we can better understand the evolution of social behaviors.