Can we predict personality in fish? Searching for consistency over time and across contexts. | - CCMAR -

Journal Article

TitleCan we predict personality in fish? Searching for consistency over time and across contexts.
Publication TypeJournal Article
AuthorsCastanheira, MFilipa, Herrera, M, Costas, B, Conceição, LEC, Martins, CIM
Year of Publication2013
JournalPLoS One
Date Published2013
KeywordsAnimals, Behavior, Animal, Fishes

The interest in animal personality, broadly defined as consistency of individual behavioural traits over time and across contexts, has increased dramatically over the last years. Individual differences in behaviour are no longer recognised as noise around a mean but rather as adaptive variation and thus, essentially, raw material for evolution. Animal personality has been considered evolutionary conserved and has been shown to be present in all vertebrates including fish. Despite the importance of evolutionary and comparative aspects in this field, few studies have actually documented consistency across situations in fish. In addition, most studies are done with individually housed fish which may pose additional challenges when interpreting data from social species. Here, we investigate, for the first time in fish, whether individual differences in behavioural responses to a variety of challenges are consistent over time and across contexts using both individual and grouped-based tests. Twenty-four juveniles of Gilthead seabream Sparus aurata were subjected to three individual-based tests: feed intake recovery in a novel environment, novel object and restraining and to two group-based tests: risk-taking and hypoxia. Each test was repeated twice to assess consistency of behavioural responses over time. Risk taking and escape behaviours during restraining were shown to be significantly consistent over time. In addition, consistency across contexts was also observed: individuals that took longer to recover feed intake after transfer into a novel environment exhibited higher escape attempts during a restraining test and escaped faster from hypoxia conditions. These results highlight the possibility to predict behaviour in groups from individual personality traits.


Alternate JournalPLoS ONE
PubMed ID23614007
PubMed Central IDPMC3628343