, Volume 54, Issue 4, pp 309–314

Are shy individuals less behaviorally variable? Insights from a captive population of mouse lemurs

News and Perspectives

DOI: 10.1007/s10329-013-0360-8

Cite this article as:
Verdolin, J.L. & Harper, J. Primates (2013) 54: 309. doi:10.1007/s10329-013-0360-8


Increasingly, individual variation in personality has become a focus of behavioral research in animal systems. Boldness and shyness, often quantified as the tendency to explore novel situations, are seen as personality traits important to the fitness landscape of individuals. Here we tested for individual differences within and across contexts in behavioral responses of captive mouse lemurs (Microcebus murinus) to novel objects, novel foods, and handling. We report consistent differences in behavioral responses for objects and handling. We also found that the responses to handling and novel objects were correlated and repeatable. Lastly, we show that shyer individuals may show less variability in their behavioral responses. This study provides new information on the potential for behavioral syndromes in this species and highlights differences in the degree to which behavioral types (e.g., shy/bold) vary in their behavioral responses.


Boldness Novel object Personality Behavioral repeatability Temperament 

Copyright information

© Japan Monkey Centre and Springer Japan 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCent)DurhamUSA
  2. 2.Department of Biological SciencesNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of LeedsLeedsUK

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