- Department of Wildlife, Fish and Environmental Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
- Monash University
Temporal repeatability of behaviour in a lizard: implications for behavioural syndrome studies
Polverino, Giovanni; Buchholz, Kali M.; Goulet, Celine T.; Michelangeli, Marcus; Chapple, David G.
It is well established that, across taxa, individuals within populations exhibit consistent differences in their behaviour across time and/or contexts. Further, the functional coupling of traits may result in the formation of a behavioural syndrome. Despite extensive evidence on the existence of consistent among-individual differences in behaviour and behavioural syndromes in the animal realm, these findings are predominately based upon short-term assessments, leading to questions regarding their stability over longer periods. Understanding if these estimates are temporally stable would allow predictions of individual behaviour to be made using short-term repeated measures. Here, we used 57 adult male delicate skinks (Lampropholis delicata) to evaluate the stability of behavioural variation observed both among (animal personality and behavioural plasticity) and within individuals (behavioural predictability), as well as behavioural syndromes, across short (four weeks) and long (five months) timeframes. To do so, we repeatedly assayed activity, exploration, and boldness five times per each individual. Overall, our study revealed complex patterns of behavioural variation and trait (co)variation over time. Activity was always repeatable across time intervals, whereas behavioural differences among individuals in exploration and boldness were not consistent. Yet a behavioural syndrome between activity and exploration was detected at both shorter and longer temporal scales, suggesting that syndrome structure in these traits does not vary as a function of time. Our findings indicate that, at least for some traits (e.g. activity) and studies, short-term measures may be adequate in serving as a proxy for long-term variation in individual behaviour, and to reveal the existence of behavioural syndromes at the population level.
Animal personality; Behavioural individuality; Behavioural plasticity; Boldness; Exploration; Reptile
2023, Volume: 37, number: 3, pages: 401-418
UKÄ Subject classification
Behavioral Sciences Biology
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