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Picking personalities apart: estimating the influence of predation, sex and body size on boldness in the guppy Poecilia reticulata

  • Sanna Harris
  • Indar W. Ramnarine
  • Henrik Smith
  • Lars Pettersson
Publishing year: 2010
Language: English
Pages: 1711-1718
Publication/Series: Oikos
Volume: 119
Issue: 11
Document type: Journal article
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell

Abstract english

Predation is a strong selective force in most natural systems, potentially fueling evolutionary changes in prey morphology, life history and behaviour. Recent work has suggested that contrasting predation pressures may lead to population differentiation in personality traits. However, there are indications that these personality traits also differ between sexes and not necessarily in a consistent way between populations. We used an integrative approach to quantify boldness (latency to emerge from a shelter) in wild-caught guppies in relation to predation pressure, population origin, sex and size. In addition we quantified the repeatability of these personality traits. We show that predation regime had significant effects on emergence time. In general, fish from high predation localities emerged sooner from the shelter compared to those from low predation localities. We found strong sex differences; males were significantly bolder than females. The relationship between emergence time and body size was non-significant in all populations. We discuss what responses to expect from predator-nave versus predator-experienced individuals and how this can be linked to the shyness-boldness continuum.


  • Ecology


  • ISSN: 1600-0706
Lars B. Pettersson
E-mail: lars [dot] pettersson [at] biol [dot] lu [dot] se



+46 46 222 38 18

+46 70 611 63 45



Centre for Animal Movement Research
Evolutionary Ecology, Department of Biology
Ecology building S-223 62 Lund Sweden