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, 7 (2), e31619

Behavioural Syndrome in a Solitary Predator Is Independent of Body Size and Growth Rate


Behavioural Syndrome in a Solitary Predator Is Independent of Body Size and Growth Rate

Marina J Nyqvist et al. PLoS One.


Models explaining behavioural syndromes often focus on state-dependency, linking behavioural variation to individual differences in other phenotypic features. Empirical studies are, however, rare. Here, we tested for a size and growth-dependent stable behavioural syndrome in the juvenile-stages of a solitary apex predator (pike, Esox lucius), shown as repeatable foraging behaviour across risk. Pike swimming activity, latency to prey attack, number of successful and unsuccessful prey attacks was measured during the presence/absence of visual contact with a competitor or predator. Foraging behaviour across risks was considered an appropriate indicator of boldness in this solitary predator where a trade-off between foraging behaviour and threat avoidance has been reported. Support was found for a behavioural syndrome, where the rank order differences in the foraging behaviour between individuals were maintained across time and risk situation. However, individual behaviour was independent of body size and growth in conditions of high food availability, showing no evidence to support the state-dependent personality hypothesis. The importance of a combination of spatial and temporal environmental variation for generating growth differences is highlighted.

Conflict of interest statement

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.


Figure 1
Figure 1. Mean number of prey captured per individual pike (n = 34) in the experimental treatments.
(a) Control versus competitor, (b) control versus predator, (c) competitor versus predator treatments. Correlations were investigated using Spearman's ranking tests (rs,*** P<0.001).
Figure 2
Figure 2. Mean number of prey captured in the predator treatment per individual pike (n = 34) and their metrics.
(a) Specific growth rate, (b) initial body mass, (c) final body mass. Correlations were investigated using Spearman's ranking tests.

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