, Volume 64, Issue 5, pp 703-715
Date: 19 Dec 2009

Behavioral correlations across activity, mating, exploration, aggression, and antipredator contexts in the European house cricket, Acheta domesticus

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Abstract

Recently, there has been increasing interest in behavioral syndrome research across a range of taxa. Behavioral syndromes are suites of correlated behaviors that are expressed either within a given behavioral context (e.g., mating) or between different contexts (e.g., foraging and mating). Syndrome research holds profound implications for animal behavior as it promotes a holistic view in which seemingly autonomous behaviors may not evolve independently, but as a “suite” or “package.” We tested whether laboratory-reared male and female European house crickets, Acheta domesticus, exhibited behavioral syndromes by quantifying individual differences in activity, exploration, mate attraction, aggressiveness, and antipredator behavior. To our knowledge, our study is the first to consider such a breadth of behavioral traits in one organism using the syndrome framework. We found positive correlations across mating, exploratory, and antipredatory contexts, but not aggression and general activity. These behavioral differences were not correlated with body size or condition, although age explained some of the variation in motivation to mate. We suggest that these across-context correlations represent a boldness syndrome as individual risk-taking and exploration was central to across-context mating and antipredation correlations in both sexes.

Communicated by D. Gwynne