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Influence of observer presence on pacific damsel bug behavior: Who is watching whom?

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Wade, M. R., Zalucki, M. P. and Franzmann, B. A. (2005) Influence of observer presence on pacific damsel bug behavior: Who is watching whom? Journal of Insect Behavior, 18 . pp. 651-667. ISSN 1572-8889

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10905-005-7017-4


When direct observations are used to study animal behavior the presence of the observer may alter the animal and hence influence the data being collected, yet few studies have quantified this effect. We conducted direct observation studies in the glasshouse to assess the relative influence of observer presence on the behavior of Pacific damsel bugs, Nabis kinbergii, a potentially important predator of crop pests. Comparisons of predator activity, predator distribution, prey (Helicoverpa armigera) mortality and prey distribution between frequently observed and minimally observed treatments, during diurnal and nocturnal observation sessions showed that the frequency of observer presence had no apparent impact on Pacific damsel bug behavior. This is the first documented test of the impact of observer presence in an insect system. To place our results in context, we reviewed 15 papers on the influence of observer presence in a range of animals. We established that just over half of these papers found evidence for an effect. Nevertheless, direct observations should be useful in further studies of Pacific damsel bug behavior, and researchers using direct observations to study the behavior of other animals should be cognizant of observer effects during design and interpretation of their study.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Live Archive:06 Feb 2024 02:27
Last Modified:06 Feb 2024 02:27

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