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Open Access Personality and the retention of neophobic predator avoidance in wild caught Trinidadian guppies

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Personality and the retention of neophobic predator avoidance in wild caught Trinidadian guppies

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Neophobic predator avoidance allows prey to reduce the risk of predation but is costly in terms of reduced foraging or courtship opportunities if the novel cues do not represent an actual threat. Consequently, neophobic responses to novel cues should wane with repeated exposures in the absence of an actual threat. We tested the prediction that individual personality traits shape the retention of neophobic predator avoidance in wild-caught guppies. Using extinction trials, we demonstrate that personality (measured as latency to escape or approach a novel object) did not influence the initial response of wild-caught Trinidadian guppies to a novel odour; bolder and shyer guppies both exhibited similarly strong avoidance responses. However, after several exposures, shyer guppies maintain an avoidance response, and bolder guppies no longer respond. Our results highlight the complex nature of the antipredator algorithm of prey, whereby past experience, acute risk, and individual tactics shape neophobic predator avoidance patterns.

Affiliations: 1: aDepartment of Biology, Concordia University, 7141 Sherbrooke Street West, Montreal, QC, Canada H4B 1R6 ; 2: bDepartment of Life Sciences, University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Republic of Trinidad and Tobago ; 3: cDepartment of Biology, University of Saskatchewan, 112 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 1E2 ; 4: dDepartment of Biomedical Sciences, WCVM, University of Saskatchewan, 52 Campus Drive, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5B4

*Corresponding author’s e-mail address: grant.brown@concordia.ca
10.1163/1568539X-00003488
/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003488
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Neophobic predator avoidance allows prey to reduce the risk of predation but is costly in terms of reduced foraging or courtship opportunities if the novel cues do not represent an actual threat. Consequently, neophobic responses to novel cues should wane with repeated exposures in the absence of an actual threat. We tested the prediction that individual personality traits shape the retention of neophobic predator avoidance in wild-caught guppies. Using extinction trials, we demonstrate that personality (measured as latency to escape or approach a novel object) did not influence the initial response of wild-caught Trinidadian guppies to a novel odour; bolder and shyer guppies both exhibited similarly strong avoidance responses. However, after several exposures, shyer guppies maintain an avoidance response, and bolder guppies no longer respond. Our results highlight the complex nature of the antipredator algorithm of prey, whereby past experience, acute risk, and individual tactics shape neophobic predator avoidance patterns.

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/content/journals/10.1163/1568539x-00003488
2018-04-16
2018-07-17

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