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Early food and social environment affect certain behaviours but not female choice or male dominance in bluefin killifish

Authors
  • McGhee, Katie E.
  • Travis, Joseph
Type
Published Article
Journal
Animal Behaviour
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2011
Accepted Date
Apr 07, 2011
Volume
82
Issue
1
Pages
139–147
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2011.04.009
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Environmental conditions during development can have long-lasting effects on morphology, physiology and behaviour. In contrast to human personality, our understanding of how the early environment influences the development of animal personality is limited. In bluefin killifish, Lucania goodei, a male’s mating behaviour is highly repeatable through time and across interactions. To examine whether these stable behavioural types are influenced by early nutritional and social conditions, we reared individuals on either high- or low-food levels in combination with either one adult male, one adult female or no adult. Individuals reared on high food were larger at the earliest measurements and remained so as adults. The high-food treatment also had the highest mortality, particularly if individuals were reared with an adult male. Despite these growth and survival consequences, the food and social treatments did not affect whether males were preferred by females or became dominant as adults. While the outcome of social interactions was not influenced by the early food and social environment, particular mating behaviours were; males reared on low food were more aggressive to females and showed more courtship, and males reared without an adult were more aggressive to females than those reared with either an adult female or male. Our results suggest that some of the behaviours that contribute to a male’s behavioural type within the mating context and that influence mating success in this species are sensitive to aspects of the early environment.

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