We have just started a new project with our new lab member, Luke, to study the effect of stress on hoverflies. While going through the literature relating to courtship and aggressive behaviours in insects, they remind me of the time I started studying animal behaviour in crickets. The first task I did was creating an ethogram, which is a dictionary of all behaviours that a particular species performs by observing any species of animal for an hour. To choose one from a wide range of species, I went to a Zoo near the University and watched Porcupine because there were a mum and a baby (but not my favourite). At the start, I felt spending one hour with them was forever; however, it turned into an enjoyable time. Generating the ethogram allowed me to develop the necessary skills of observation, description, and quantification. (Please see a link about the ethogram https://www.researchgate.net/publication/299586471_The_Ethogram_and_Animal_Behavior_Research)
After that experience, I started observing the behaviours of paired males in the lab. Each horizontal bar (1–20) in a figure below displays a 60-min record for 20 dominant males in the paired (male-male) condition. Grey indicates attack periods; black indicates courtship periods. Approximately 10 min after pairing, most dominant males produced courtship songs in the presence of subordinate males, but without females. It appeared to be triggered by some contact chemicals on the body surface of the males. This study suggests that sexual motivation in dominant males increased because of previous agonistic interactions. In contrast, subordinate males remained silent, meaning less chance for the mating sadly.
Lately, we perform sophisticated experiments with high-technology methods and computers in our field of study. But, our eyes, a piece of paper and a pen are always fundamental. More importantly, excellent research ideas tend to come up while watching animal behaviours closely. And spending time for merely watching them is luxurious and suitable for student days.