Volatile chemical emission as a weapon of rearguard action: a game-theoretic model of contest behavior

Mesterton-Gibbons, Mike and Dai, Yao and Goubault, Marlene and Hardy, Ian C.W. (2017) Volatile chemical emission as a weapon of rearguard action: a game-theoretic model of contest behavior. Bulletin of Mathematical Biology . ISSN 0092-8240

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Abstract

We use a game-theoretic model to explore whether volatile chemical (spiroacetal) emissions can serve as a weapon of rearguard action. Our basic model explores whether such emissions serve as a means of temporary withdrawal, preventing the winner of the current round of a contest from translating its victory into permanent possession of a contested resource. A variant of this model explores an alternative possibility, namely, that such emissions serve as a means of permanent retreat, attempting to prevent a winner from inflicting costs on a fleeing loser. Our results confirm that the underlying logic of either interpretation of weapons of rearguard action is sound; however, empirical observations on parasitoid wasp contests suggest that the more likely function of chemical weapons is to serve as a means of temporary withdrawal. While our work is centered around the particular biology of contest behavior in parasitoid wasps, it also provides the first contest model to explicitly consider self-inflicted damage costs, and thus responds to a recent call by empiricists for theory in this area.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: spiroacetal ; Goniozus ; self-inflicted damage
Schools/Departments: University of Nottingham, UK > Faculty of Science > School of Biosciences
Identification Number: 10.1007/s11538-017-0335-9
Depositing User: Eprints, Support
Date Deposited: 01 Sep 2017 12:29
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2017 17:41
URI: http://eprints.nottingham.ac.uk/id/eprint/45364

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