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Animals assess many factors when choosing how aggressively to behave during interspecific competitive interactions. Aggressive behaviour can help win resources, but it can also be costly. Here we tested how context such as competitor familiarity, habitat type and resource value affect competitive behaviour using two ant species, Formica xerophila and F. integroides. We found that competitive encounters within an individual's territory yielded more aggressive interactions than encounters in a neutral arena, and aggression towards competitors increased with resource value. Using a recently developed design combining behaviour assays between live ant dyads and ants paired with glass beads chemically resembling competitors,...