Environment-dependence of behavioural consistency in adult male European green lizards (Lacerta viridis)

Gergely Horváth, Boglárka Mészáros, Tamás János Urszán, Katalin Bajer, Orsolya Molnár, László Zsolt Garamszegi, G. Herczeg

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Abstract

Understanding the background mechanisms affecting the emergence and maintenance of consistent between-individual variation within population in single (animal personality) or across multiple (behavioural syndrome) behaviours has key importance. State-dependence theory suggests that behaviour is ‘anchored’ to individual state (e.g. body condition, gender, age) and behavioural consistency emerges through behavioural-state feedbacks. A number of relevant state variables are labile (e.g. body condition, physiological performance) and expected to be affected by short-term environmental change. Yet, whether short-term environmental shifts affect behavioural consistency during adulthood remains questionable. Here, by employing a full-factorial laboratory experiment, we explored if quantity of food (low vs. high) and time available for thermoregulation (3h vs. 10h per day) had an effect on activity and risk-taking of reproductive adult male European green lizards (Lacerta viridis). We focussed on different components of behavioural variation: (i) strength of behavioural consistency (repeatability for animal personality; between-individual correlation for behavioural syndrome), (ii) behavioural type (individual mean behaviour) and (iii) behavioural predictability (within-individual behavioural variation). Activity was repeatable in all treatments. Risk-taking was repeatable only in the low basking treatments. We found significant between-individual correlation only in the low food × long basking time group. The treatments did not affect behavioural type, but affected behavioural predictability. Activity predictability was higher in the short basking treatment, where it also decreased with size ( age). Risk-taking predictability in the short basking treatment increased with size under food limitation, but decreased when food supply was high. We conclude that short-term environmental change can alter various components of behavioural consistency. The effect could be detected in the presence/absence patterns of animal personality and behavioural syndrome and the level of individual behavioural predictability, but not in behavioural type.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0187657
JournalPLoS One
Volume12
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2017

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)

Cite this

Horváth, G., Mészáros, B., Urszán, T. J., Bajer, K., Molnár, O., Garamszegi, L. Z., & Herczeg, G. (2017). Environment-dependence of behavioural consistency in adult male European green lizards (Lacerta viridis). PLoS One, 12(11), [e0187657]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0187657