Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. David Westneat


Badges of status are supposed to have insignificant production costs, so use costs are thought to be most important in ensuring signal reliability. Use costs arise from the use of the status signal in social interactions. Social experiences that arise from the use of inappropriate signals in social interactions may drive mechanisms that result in reduced fitness for inappropriate signalers. The role of social control, probing and familiarity in producing use costs was explored. There was no evidence that social control by dominants produced a cost for cheaters and no evidence that social control by subordinates produced a cost for inappropriate signaling by Trojans. Probing produced a cost for cheating when resource value was high but not when resource value was low. Familiarity had some effect on the cost and benefit of cheating but in patterns that were not predicted. Familiarity both eliminated a benefit of cheating and reduced a cost of cheating; therefore it is uncertain how familiarity affects honest signaling. The status signal of the receiver had no effect on the cost or benefits of cheating, and there was no evidence of punishment. Social experiences have the potential to affect signal development to produce a correspondence between signal and status. The effects of social experience on signal production were examined and there was little evidence that social experience influenced bib development. Neither aggression expressed nor aggression received was not predictive of bib size. Additionally, tests on the different measures of winning experience produced conflicting conclusions regarding the relationship between winning experience and bib development.