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Individuals that are consistent in risk-taking benefit during collective foraging

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

It is well established that living in groups helps animals avoid predation and locate resources, but maintaining a group requires collective coordination, which can be difficult when individuals differ from one another. Personality variation (consistent behavioural differences within a population) is already known to be important in group interactions. Growing evidence suggests that individuals also differ in their consistency, i.e. differing in how variable they are over time, and theoretical models predict that this consistency can be beneficial in social contexts. We used three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to test whether the consistency in, as well as average levels of, risk taking behaviour (i.e. boldness) when individuals were tested alone affects social interactions when fish were retested in groups of 2 and 4. Behavioural consistency, independently of average levels of risk-taking, can be advantageous: more consistent individuals showed higher rates of initiating group movements as leaders, more behavioural coordination by joining others as followers, and greater food consumption. Our results have implications for both group decision making, as groups composed of consistent individuals are more cohesive, and personality traits, as social interactions can have functional consequences for consistency in behaviour and hence the evolution of personality variation.

No MeSH data available.


The effect of the initiator’s boldness score on their latency to leave the refuge in trials of two fish.
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f3: The effect of the initiator’s boldness score on their latency to leave the refuge in trials of two fish.

Mentions: In line with previous work on leadership and animal personalities230, the more bold an individual was relative to the fish it was paired with, the more likely it was to initiate exploration of the arena by being the first to leave the refuge (binomial GLMM, n = 70: χ21,64 = 7.34, P = 0.0067). We also found, however, that the relative consistency of a fish also determined whether it was the ‘initiator’, with more consistent individuals (independent of average level of boldness) being significantly more likely to initiate (χ21,64 = 4.69, P = 0.030). There were very few cases where the initiator was both less bold and less consistent than their partner (Fig. 2a). As expected if boldness when tested alone generalises to a social context, bolder initiators were quicker to leave the refuge in two-fish trials than initiators assessed as shy when tested alone (Fig. 3; negative binomial GLMM, n = 35: χ21,28 = 17.84, P = 2.41 × 10−5).


Individuals that are consistent in risk-taking benefit during collective foraging
The effect of the initiator’s boldness score on their latency to leave the refuge in trials of two fish.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5037426&req=5

f3: The effect of the initiator’s boldness score on their latency to leave the refuge in trials of two fish.
Mentions: In line with previous work on leadership and animal personalities230, the more bold an individual was relative to the fish it was paired with, the more likely it was to initiate exploration of the arena by being the first to leave the refuge (binomial GLMM, n = 70: χ21,64 = 7.34, P = 0.0067). We also found, however, that the relative consistency of a fish also determined whether it was the ‘initiator’, with more consistent individuals (independent of average level of boldness) being significantly more likely to initiate (χ21,64 = 4.69, P = 0.030). There were very few cases where the initiator was both less bold and less consistent than their partner (Fig. 2a). As expected if boldness when tested alone generalises to a social context, bolder initiators were quicker to leave the refuge in two-fish trials than initiators assessed as shy when tested alone (Fig. 3; negative binomial GLMM, n = 35: χ21,28 = 17.84, P = 2.41 × 10−5).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

It is well established that living in groups helps animals avoid predation and locate resources, but maintaining a group requires collective coordination, which can be difficult when individuals differ from one another. Personality variation (consistent behavioural differences within a population) is already known to be important in group interactions. Growing evidence suggests that individuals also differ in their consistency, i.e. differing in how variable they are over time, and theoretical models predict that this consistency can be beneficial in social contexts. We used three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) to test whether the consistency in, as well as average levels of, risk taking behaviour (i.e. boldness) when individuals were tested alone affects social interactions when fish were retested in groups of 2 and 4. Behavioural consistency, independently of average levels of risk-taking, can be advantageous: more consistent individuals showed higher rates of initiating group movements as leaders, more behavioural coordination by joining others as followers, and greater food consumption. Our results have implications for both group decision making, as groups composed of consistent individuals are more cohesive, and personality traits, as social interactions can have functional consequences for consistency in behaviour and hence the evolution of personality variation.

No MeSH data available.