Exploring links between personality traits and their social and non-social environments in wild poison frogs

Melissa Peignier, Yimen G. Araya-Ajoy, Lauriane Bégué, Sarah Chaloupka, Katharina Dellefont, Christoph Leeb, Patrick Walsh, Max Ringler, Eva Ringler

An animal's behavioral phenotype comprises several traits, which are hierarchically structured in functional units. This is manifested in measured behaviors often being correlated, partly reflecting the need of a coordinated functional response. Unfortunately, we still have limited understanding whether consistent differences in animal behaviors are due to underlying physiological constraints or a result of plastic adaptation to their current environment. Therefore, characterizing the spatial distribution of behaviors can provide important insights into causes and consequences of behavioral variation. In the present study, we quantified behaviors in a wild, free-ranging population of the Neotropical frog Allobates femoralis. We investigated how these behaviors were linked to the frogs' natural and social environment and quantified the extent to which these behaviors consistently differed among individuals (i.e., animal personality). We assessed levels of aggressiveness, exploration, and boldness by measuring several underlying behaviors expressed in a set of experimental assays, and found evidence for consistent among-individual differences along these axes. Contrary to our expectation, there was no relationship between individual behaviors and their natural environment, but we found a plastic response of males to changes in female density, which might reflect how individuals cope with their socio-ecological environment. Significance statement How are behavioral phenotypes distributed across space? Here, we studied an entire free-ranging population of poison frogs, and investigated if the personality traits aggressiveness, exploration, and boldness are linked to the frogs' natural or social environment. We found that behavioral traits were non-randomly distributed across the population, suggesting that the spatial arrangement of behavioral traits reflects how individuals cope with their complex natural and social environment.

Department für Verhaltens- und Kognitionsbiologie, Department für Evolutionsbiologie
Externe Organisation(en)
Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) , Universität Koblenz-Landau, University of Edinburgh, Université de Montpellier, Universität Wien, Naturhistorisches Museum Wien (NHM), Universität Bern, Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Graz (KUG)
Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Anzahl der Seiten
ÖFOS 2012
106051 Verhaltensbiologie
ASJC Scopus Sachgebiete
Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics, Animal Science and Zoology
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