Research has shown that body size judgements are frequently biased, or inaccurate. Critically, judgement biases are further exaggerated for individuals with eating disorders, a finding that has been attributed to difficulties integrating body features into a perceptual whole. However, current understanding of which body features are integrated when judging body size is lacking. In this study, we examine whether individuals integrate three-dimensional (3D) cues to body volume when making body size judgements. Computer-generated body stimuli were presented in a 3D Virtual Reality (VR) environment. Participants (N = 412) were randomly assigned to one of two conditions: in one condition the to-be-judged body was displayed binocularly (containing 3D cues to body volume), in the other, bodies were presented monocularly (2D cues only). Across 150 trials, participants were required to make a body size judgement of a target female body from a third-person point of view using an unmarked visual analogue scale (VAS). It was found that 3D cues significantly influenced body size judgements. Namely, thin 3D bodies were judged smaller, and overweight 3D bodies were judged larger, than their 2D counterpart. Furthermore, to reconcile these effects, we present evidence that the two perceptual biases, regression to the mean and serial dependence, were reduced by the additional 3D feature information. Our findings increase our understanding of how body size is perceptually encoded and creates testable predictions for clinical populations exhibiting integration difficulties.
Chelonus inanitus (L.) is an egg-larval parasitoid of noctuids Spodoptera exigua (Hübner) and S. littoralis (Boisduval), whose mass rearing or real potential has not been targeted yet. To improve the rearing in the factitious host Ephestia kuehniella Zeller, we investigated the influence of host age and number of females parasitizing simultaneously on the overall rearing success, the influence of host age on the life cycle, and the influence of host species on the parasitoid body size. The proportion of emerging C. inanitus was higher from young host eggs, but more females emerged from mature eggs. Under high parasitoid competition, we observed a reduction in non-parasitized hosts without reducing parasitoid emergence. The parasitoid life cycle was longer in females, but the mismatch between sexes was smaller in mature eggs. The parasitoid size was smaller in the factitious host than in the natural hosts. Under semi-field conditions, we investigated the competition among parasitoid females on the overall parasitism success. The reproductive parasitism was more successful in S. exigua than in S. littoralis, and the maximum emergence was reached with three and four females, respectively. The control of S. littoralis may be attributed to the high developmental mortality, a non-reproductive parasitism that is often underestimated.
The aim of this study was to test the steepness of body size variation in males and females in the widespread ground beetle Pterostichus melanarius in geographical gradients. Beetles were sampled in 15 regions of Europe and Asia, and sampling territories differed 17° in latitude and 121° in longitude. We measured six linear traits in every captured beetle and formed a data set that included 2154 individuals. Body size variation in all traits in general was sawtooth, both in latitude and in longitude gradients. Regression analysis showed slight trends: in the latitude gradient, elytra parameters increased, pronotum length did not change but the width increased, and head parameters decreased. In the longitude gradient, the changes were as follows: elytra length increased, but its width did not change; pronotum length did not change, but its width increased; the head parameters decreased. Thus, we observed the elytra length increase and the head parameters decrease northwards and eastwards. We compared female and male regression curves (trait size on latitude/longitude): p-levels were significant only in four cases out of 12. Thus, we conclude that, in general, there is no evidence for the steepness in trait variation in males compared with females.
Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder in dogs and it is associated with many comorbidities. Some obesity risk factors have already been established, however, the evaluation of the effect of different individual variables on weight loss induced by calorie restriction, although very important, is still poorly explored. The weight loss protocol can be updated and improved by more precise and adjusted equations throughout the weight loss program in the clinical routine practice. Therefore, the objective of this study was to analyze weight loss program dynamics in groups according to reproductive status, age, body size, and breed, as well as to define more accurately the amount of calories per target metabolic weight throughout the program. Data of 1,053 cases, presented between 2012 and 2019 at the Veterinary Hospital of the School of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science of the University of São Paulo (FMVZ-USP) were retrospectively analyzed. A total of 77 obese dogs (body condition scores 8/9 or 9/9) of different ages, breeds, sizes, and reproductive status were selected. These dogs did not have any concomitant illnesses and successfully completed the weight loss program. Statistical analysis was performed and values of p≤0.05 were considered significant. The proposed weight loss program was based on an energy restriction protocol where daily energy intake (in kcal) was estimated as 70 kcal × target weight0.75. The target weight (TW) was defined as 80% of the animal’s current weight. The average calorie intake for weight loss (calories x target weight0.75) was lower for spayed females (62.36), differing from intact males (66.14) and neutered males (65.41), while intact females (63.66) showed intermediate values without differing between groups (p = 0.015). There were no differences between weight loss calories according to age (p = 0.473) or body size (p = 0.084), allowing the use of the same mathematical equation for intact and neutered dogs; for dogs older than 1 year and of different body sizes. Regarding the breed, the average calorie intake was lower (p = 0.002) in mixed breed dogs (61.54xTW0.75) when compared to obesity-prone purebred dogs (64.17xTW0.75) and other purebreds (65.27xTW0.75). It was concluded that spayed females and mixed breed dogs have greater difficulty in losing weight, that is, they need fewer calories per metabolic body weight for the weight loss program to succeed. A more accurate equation for energy requirement for weight loss can improve chances of success, therefore improving compliance and helping clinical management of obesity in dogs.