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The Comparative Ontogeny of Social Interactions in Two Species of Cockroach

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The ontogeny of social behaviour in two species of cockroach, Shawella couloniana and Eublaberus posticus, was investigated and compared. 1) All acts were recorded in each of 5 age classes per species and the frequencies of each act were calculated and compared. 2) Agonistic intensity increased in Shawella and decreased in Eublaberus with age. 3) Clumping was observed until the last instar in Eublaberus, but never in Shawella, at which time the spacing became regular. 4) Numbers of acts per encounter increased in Shawella and decreased in Eublaberus as a function of age. 5) Initiator-terminated encounters were more frequent in Shawella adults, while responder-terminated encounters were characteristic of all nymphal interactions. In Eublaberus adult males, responder-terminated encounters were most common, but no difference between initiator- and responder-terminated encounters was found in the nymphs. 6) These data were correlated with environmental and life-history parameters in the two species.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Entomology, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas


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