1 Tahrcountry Musings: 'Chivalrous’ behavior is not exclusive of humans or closely related mammals

Sunday, October 09, 2011

'Chivalrous’ behavior is not exclusive of humans or closely related mammals

I just tread this fascinating paper on insects displaying 'Chivalrous’ behavior.  Well, this is not something from science fiction, it is a fact recently established by scientific research.

Video observations of a wild population of field crickets (Gryllus campestris) by researchers showed males putting their life at risk to protect the females. When a mated pair is out together, males allowed a female priority access to the safety of a burrow, even though it meant increase in the risk of the male being eaten. The researchers say guarding males sire more of their mate's offspring, at a cost of reduced life span. Females benefit from being guarded by dramatically reducing their predation risk.

The usual interpretation of male guarding behavior is an attempt to manipulate females and prevent them from mating with rivals. The new study bucks this belief.

The researchers sign off with the following words” In contrast to conclusions based on previous lab studies, our field study suggests that mate guarding can evolve in a context of cooperation rather than conflict between the sexes.”

Journal reference 

Guarding Males Protect Females from Predation in a Wild insect

Current Biology, 06 October 2011

No comments: