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Spoilt for choice: Do female mosquitoes experience choice overload when deciding where to lay eggs?

Sharma, M and Isvaran, K (2023) Spoilt for choice: Do female mosquitoes experience choice overload when deciding where to lay eggs? In: Behavioural Processes, 213 .

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2023.104963


Animals live in complex natural environments. Based on the effects of natural selection, theory on animal information use says that it is optimal for animals to make �rational� decisions, i.e., to choose alternatives which maximize fitness gains, irrespective of the number of alternatives presented to them. Yet, animals commonly make seemingly �irrational� choices in the face of complex and variable stimuli that challenge their cognitive machinery. Here, we test the choice overload hypothesis � decision-making is negatively affected when animals experience an overload of choice. Using simultaneous-choice trials that varied in choice repertoire size, we examined oviposition site selection behaviour in Aedes aegypti towards larval predators, the nymphs of Bradinopyga geminata. Based on the underlying fitness trade-offs of oviposition decision-making, we predicted that female oviposition preference would be weaker and variation in this response would be higher in complex, multiple-choice trials than in binary-choice trials. In partial support of our hypothesis, oviposition preference was weaker in the complex, multiple-choice trials, but the variation in response depended on predator density, and did not depend on choice repertoire size. We suggest that information overload can negatively affect certain aspects of animal decision-making, resulting in choices appearing as �irrational� if the complexity of the decision-making context is not incorporated. Information overload can potentially lead to alternative strategies, such as bet-hedging or decision-making with reduced discrimination. © 2023 Elsevier B.V.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Behavioural Processes
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Additional Information: The copyright for this article belongs to Elsevier B.V.
Keywords: bet-hedging; egg; fitness; hypothesis testing; life history trait; mosquito; oviposition; predation risk; site selection; trade-off, adult; Aedes aegypti; article; decision making; egg laying; female; human; human experiment; information overload; mosquito; nonhuman; nymph; predation risk; predator
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 28 Feb 2024 13:01
Last Modified: 28 Feb 2024 13:01
URI: https://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/83667

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