Water striders are a model system for the study of sexual size dimorphism, but the effect of body size on the dominance relationship between individuals has not been experimentally tested. In 34 staged contests between males of the water strider Aquarius paludum, we determined the effect of body size difference between contestants on the outcome of the aggressive interactions. In contests between a large and a small male, the larger individuals won the interactions significantly more often than expected by chance. This is the first experimental evidence for the importance of body size in pair-wise contests among water striders.
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This work was funded by a grant (3344-20080067) from the College of Natural Sciences, Seoul National University to P.J. and for the equipment purchased for the KRF project no. 0409-20080118, by Korea Research Foundation Grant No. KRF-2007-412-J03001, and from the funds of the second stage of the Brain Korea 21 Project 2009. C.S.H. thanks Chang-ku Kang for helping collect water striders. We thank the members of the Laboratory of Behavioral Ecology and Evolution at SNU for help and support (Sang-im Lee, Byoung-soon Jang, Hong-sup Shin, Won-young Lee, Chang-ku Kang and Hee-yoon Kim). This project was conducted as part of an Animal Behavior class taught by P.G.J. at the School of Biological Sciences SNU.
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Han, C.S., Jablonski, P.G. Role of body size in dominance interactions between male water striders, Aquarius paludum . J Ethol 28, 389–392 (2010) doi:10.1007/s10164-009-0194-4
- Male–male competition
- Sexual size dimorphism
- Aquarius paludum