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Ecology And Evolution


Intrasexual interactions can determine which individuals within a population have access to limited resources. Despite their potential importance on fitness generally and mating success especially, female–female interactions are not often measured in the same species where male–male interactions are well-defined. In this study, we characterized female–female interactions in Bolitotherus cornutus, a mycophagous beetle species native to Northeastern North America. We used dyadic, behavioral assays to determine whether females perform directly aggressive or indirectly exclusionary competitive behaviors. Polypore shelf fungus, an important food and egg-laying resource for B. cornutus females, is patchily distributed and of variable quality, so we tested for competition over fungus as a resource. Behavior of females was assessed in three sets of dyadic trials with randomly paired female partners. Overall, females did not behave aggressively toward their female partner or perform exclusionary behaviors over the fungal resource. None of the behaviors performed by females were individually repeatable. Two scenarios may explain our lack of observed competition: our trial context may not induce competition, or female B. cornutus simply may not behave competitively in the wild. We compare our results to a similar study on male–male interactions in the same species and propose future studies on female–female interactions under different competitive contexts to expand the understanding of female competition.


Bolitotherus cornutus, coleoptera, competition, exclusion, female contest, female–female interactions

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This work is freely available under a Creative Commons license.

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