ONTOGENETIC AND MORPHOLOGICAL EFFECTS OF PERSONALITY IN COMMON CARP (CYPRINUS CARPIO)
The field of animal personality has been growing rapidly in the past 10 years, yet relatively little attention has been given to development of personality through ontogeny. To understand the stability of personality traits throughout animal’s life is particularly important as behavioural tendencies are likely to change in response to the different trade-offs animals face at each stage of the life cycle. The purpose of this research was to examine the stability of personality traits in common carp but also to determine whether personality traits can affect production of induced morphological defences in this species. To investigate the presence of behavioural syndrome and the stability of individual behaviours through ontogeny, common carp were monitored for a period of 10 months. Two different tests were used to investigate cross-situational consistency in behavioural traits: exploration and risk-taking. Juvenile carp were monitored at different time intervals to assess behavioural stability. Finally, morphometric data were collected to examine the link between body morphology and behavioural traits. No initial cross-situational consistency in behaviours was observed in juvenile common carp. Ranking of behaviour traits was consistent over a period of 14-16 weeks but not when the time interval was longer. Young carp that ranked lowest in both shelter use and activity used shelter significantly more compared to those individuals that ranked highest in use of shelter and activity even after a 10 month period. Development of a deeper body was also associated with the extreme levels of shelter seeking and activity. Fish pre-determined as being “Active” increased their body depth significantly more than did “Passive” fish. To my knowledge, this is the first study directly linking personality traits and change in body morphology in an aquatic species.
personality, behaviour, induced morphological defences, behavioural syndrome
Master of Science (M.Sc.)