Winning fights induces hyperaggression via the action of the biogenic amine octopamine in crickets.
Winning an agonistic interaction against a conspecific is known to heighten aggressiveness, but the underlying events and mechanism are poorly understood. We quantified the effect of experiencing successive wins on aggression in adult male crickets (Gryllus bimaculatus) by staging knockout tournaments and investigated its dependence on biogenic amines by treatment with amine receptor antagonists. For an inter-fight interval of 5 min, fights between winners escalated to higher levels of aggression and lasted significantly longer than the preceding round. This winner effect is transient, and no longer evident for an inter-fight interval of 20 min, indicating that it does not result from selecting individuals that were hyper-aggressive from the outset. A winner effect was also evident in crickets that experienced wins without physical exertion, or that engaged in fights that were interrupted before a win was experienced. Finally, the winner effect was abolished by prior treatment with epinastine, a highly selective octopamine receptor blocker, but not by propranolol, a ß-adrenergic receptor antagonist, nor by yohimbine, an insect tyramine receptor blocker nor by fluphenazine an insect dopamine-receptor blocker. Taken together our study in the cricket indicates that the physical exertion of fighting, together with some rewarding aspect of the actual winning experience, leads to a transient increase in aggressive motivation via activation of the octopaminergic system, the invertebrate equivalent to the adrenergic system of vertebrates.
Institute for Neurobiologie, Freie University of Berlin, Berlin, Germany.
SourcePloS one 6:12 2011 pg e28891
Pub Type(s)Journal Article
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't