University of Oulu

Aurélien Kaiser, Thomas Merckx, Hans Van Dyck, Behavioural repeatability is affected by early developmental conditions in a butterfly, Animal Behaviour, Volume 157, 2019, Pages 219-226, ISSN 0003-3472,

Behavioural repeatability is affected by early developmental conditions in a butterfly

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Author: Kaiser, Aurélien1; Merckx, Thomas1,2; Van Dyck, Hans1
Organizations: 1Behavioural Ecology and Conservation Group, Biodiversity Research Centre, Earth and Life Institute, UCLouvain, Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium
2Department of Ecology and Genetics, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.1 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2021-10-16


For developing organisms, early environmental conditions are critical as they provide cues about their environment and are thus helpful to make decisions for the short and long term. As such, the early environment is known to affect several phenotypic traits, and these can persist after developmental growth. However, the role of these early environmental conditions in shaping personality traits remains largely unknown. Here, we used a reciprocal transplant experiment to explore the effect of landscape of origin versus landscape of development on boldness and activity in a butterfly, Pararge aegeria. Larvae of woodland, agricultural and urban population origins were reared in situ in their landscape of origin or under the two alternative environmental conditions. We then repeatedly quantified boldness and activity in the F1 adults under laboratory conditions. While the landscape of development appeared to have no effect on mean trait values, it affected trait repeatability through changes in among-individual variation. Additionally, males of agricultural origin had higher mean boldness scores than woodland and urban origin males. Also, average boldness declined with testing sequence in individuals of woodland origin, but not in agricultural and urban origin individuals. Overall, our results suggest that (1) conspecifics originating from distinct habitat types differ in some aspects of boldness, and (2) early developmental conditions can affect behavioural consistency without changing mean behavioural phenotypes.

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Series: Animal behaviour
ISSN: 0003-3472
ISSN-E: 1095-8282
ISSN-L: 0003-3472
Volume: 157
Pages: 219 - 226
DOI: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2019.08.006
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1181 Ecology, evolutionary biology
1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
Funding: A.K. is a research fellow with the Belgian National Fund for Scientific Research F.S.R.-FNRS, Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles, Belgium. The research was supported by PDR-grant T.0188.14 of the F.R.S. – FNRS Fund and ARC-research grant 17/22-086 of UCLouvain and the Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.
Copyright information: © 2019 The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license