The extent and structure of a boldness syndrome - is there really a tradeoff with predation risk? (#182)
The notion of behavioural syndromes is relatively new and the limits and implications of these syndromes are still being explored by researchers worldwide. A behavioural syndrome is a suite of positively correlated behaviours which reflect between-individual consistencies in behaviours, implying limited behavioural plasticity (Sih et al. 2004). But just how limited is this plasticity? This study aims to outline the extent and structure of a boldness syndrome in the skink species Carlia decora in order to better understand the inherent tradeoffs associated with such a syndrome. Individual skinks were ranked in boldness in the following tests: exploring a new environment; attacking prey; and thermoregulating. The same tests were repeated in the presence of a predator. I discuss whether the boldness syndrome and its inherent tradeoffs extends across all contexts, and if bold skinks tend to be bolder than others when caution is more appropriate - even in the direct presence of a predator.
- Sih, Andrew, Bell, Allison, and Johnson, J. Chadwick (2004) Behavioural syndromes: an ecological and evolutionary overview. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19(7) 372-378