Personality variation in little brown bats

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 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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    Menzies, A. K., Timonin, M. E., McGuire, L. P., & Willis, C. K. R. (2013). Personality variation in little brown bats. PloS one, 8(11), [e80230]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0080230