Personality variation in little brown bats

Allyson K. Menzies, Mary E. Timonin, Liam P. McGuire, Craig K.R. Willis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations

Abstract

Animal personality or temperament refers to individual differences in behaviour that are repeatable over time and across contexts. Personality has been linked to life-history traits, energetic traits and fitness, with implications for the evolution of behaviour. Personality has been quantified for a range of taxa (e.g., fish, songbirds, small mammals) but, so far, there has been little work on personality in bats, despite their diversity and potential as a model taxon for comparative studies. We used a novel environment test to quantify personality in little brown bats (Myotis lucifugus) and assess the short-term repeatability of a range of behaviours. We tested the hypothesis that development influences values of personality traits and predicted that trait values associated with activity would increase between newly volant, pre-weaning young-of-the-year (YOY) and more mature, self-sufficient YOY. We identified personality dimensions that were consistent with past studies of other taxa and found that these traits were repeatable over a 24-hour period. Consistent with our prediction, older YOY captured at a fall swarming site prior to hibernation had higher activity scores than younger YOY bats captured at a maternity colony, suggesting that personality traits vary as development progresses in YOY bats. Thus, we found evidence of short-term consistency of personality within individuals but with the potential for temporal flexibility of traits, depending on age.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere80230
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 27 2013

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