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Cricket Lab Report

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Territory Defense in Acheta domesticus

Spring 2007

Abstract

The purpose of this experiment was to investigate territory defense in Acheta domesticus, the common house cricket.   A three-session experiment was performed to create an ethogram, observe the interaction and the behaviors associated with both resident and intruder crickets in a territorial encounter, and observe female-male cricket-to-cricket interaction with other males present (within a given territory).   The hypotheses of this experiment were that the intruder males would be more prone to initiate territorial contests and the resident male would be more likely to dominant territorial contests, as well as, win the corresponding interactions.   It was found that intruder crickets were significantly more likely to initiate a territorial contest (fight for a territory) than resident crickets; however, it was also found that there was no statistical significance in the difference in territorial encounters dominated and interactions won between resident and intruder crickets.   Additionally, it was also observed that there were no discernable interactions between male and female crickets when other males were present in a particular territory.   This experiment allowed for more insight into the study of territoriality and territory defense in invertebrates, and also further insight into the cost and reward of entering a territorial contest.

Introduction
Territoriality is one area of focus for many ethologists and behavioral ecologists.   By studying animal’s territoriality, isolated behaviors and behaviors while interacting with other individuals can be observed.   Territoriality is defined as the occupation and defense of particular areas (Dugatkin, 2004).   These particular areas usually found within a certain species home range, an undefended area in which an individual will spend most of its time.   The area that an individual defends within the home range is that individual’s territory...

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