The British Herpetological Society

The Herpetological Journal is the Society's prestigious quarterly scientific journal. Articles are listed in Biological Abstracts, Current Awareness in Biological Sciences,Current Contents, Science Citation Index, and Zoological Record.

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pdf 02. Intra-individual variation in exploration behaviour in a largely aquatic frog: effects of sex and personality traits

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pp.10-18

Authors: Mathieu Videlier, Camille Bonneaud & Anthony Herrel

Abstract: Behavioural plasticity is important for survival and to adapt to a dynamic environment. However, it is known that many animals
exhibit fixed behavioural responses termed behavioural syndromes. That said, even when exhibiting such fixed behavioural
responses, animals still show variability in their behaviour. We here evaluate the variability in exploration behaviour in the
frog Silurana (Xenopus) tropicalis by quantifying two different metrics of variability: the absolute difference between two
sets of measurements, and the individual stability statistic. Our results show differences in the intra-individual variability
between groups of frogs that can be assigned to different behavioural syndromes. Marked differences in variability also occur
between males and females, with males being more stereotyped in their responses. Frogs identified as belonging to different
behavioural groups (i.e. shy, intermediate, and bold) differed in the variability of the expression of these strategies, with
bold individuals being more stereotypic in the exploration of an identical, novel environment. These observations may have
implications for the evolution of behaviour in natural populations.

Keywords: locomotion, amphibian, variability, behaviour, exploration

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