New paper in Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology


Exploring links between personality traits and their social and non-social environments in wild poison frogs.

Peignier M, Araya-Ajoy YG, Bégué L. Chaloupka S, Dellefont K, Leeb C, Walsh P, Ringler M & Ringler E. 2022. 
Behav Ecol Sociobiol 76, 93 (2022). Link. Published online 4 July 2022


An animal’s behavioral phenotype comprises several traits, which are hierarchically structured in functional units. This is manifested in measured behaviors often being correlated, partly reflecting the need of a coordinated functional response. Unfortunately, we still have limited understanding whether consistent differences in animal behaviors are due to underlying physiological constraints or a result of plastic adaptation to their current environment. Therefore, characterizing the spatial distribution of behaviors can provide important insights into causes and consequences of behavioral variation. In the present study, we quantified behaviors in a wild, free-ranging population of the Neotropical frog Allobates femoralis. We investigated how these behaviors were linked to the frogs’ natural and social environment and quantified the extent to which these behaviors consistently differed among individuals (i.e., animal personality). We assessed levels of aggressiveness, exploration, and boldness by measuring several underlying behaviors expressed in a set of experimental assays, and found evidence for consistent among-individual differences along these axes. Contrary to our expectation, there was no relationship between individual behaviors and their natural environment, but we found a plastic response of males to changes in female density, which might reflect how individuals cope with their socio-ecological environment.