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Strutting their stuff: victory displays in the spring field cricket, Gryllus veletis

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Contest winners may perform victory displays at the conclusion of agonistic contests. Victory displays are hypothesized to function in browbeating or advertisement. To date, victory displays have received little attention. Following agonistic contests, several field cricket species produce aggressive songs and shake their body forwards and backwards (body jerks). We examined 20 agonistic contests between field-captured adult male spring field crickets, Gryllus veletis. We characterized the aggressive songs and body jerks that occurred both during and immediately following conflicts to evaluate whether these behaviours should be classified as victory displays. Aggressive songs and body jerks were observed throughout the contests, not just immediately following the conclusion of the fight. Winner aggressive song and body jerk rates were higher during the post-conflict period than during the fight period. Further, while both winners and losers performed aggressive songs and body jerks, winners performed them at five times the rate of the losers during the post-conflict period. We conclude that aggressive songs and body jerks should be considered victory displays, and that these victory displays may function as both browbeating and advertisement.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biological Sciences, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5B6;, Email: Sue_Bertram@carleton.ca; 2: Department of Biological Sciences, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1S 5B6

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