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Different behaviour-body length correlations in two populations of juvenile three-spined stickleback (Gasterosteus aculeatus)

Winter, Gunnar De, Martins, Henrique Ramalho, Trovo, Rafael Arnoni, Chapman, Ben B.
Behavioural processes 2016 v.122 pp. 75-79
Gasterosteus aculeatus, body length, habitats, juveniles, rearing
Behavioural variation among individuals has received a lot of attention by behavioural ecologists in the past few years. Its causes and consequences are becoming vast areas of research. The origin and maintenance of individual variation in behaviour within and among populations is affected by many facets of the biotic and abiotic environment.Here, two populations of lab-reared juvenile three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) are tested for three behaviours (boldness, exploration, and sociability). Given the identical rearing conditions, the only difference between these populations is the parental habitat. In both populations, correlations between behaviour and body length are found. Interestingly, these differ between the populations. In one population body length was negatively correlated with exploratory behaviour, while in the other one body length correlated negatively with sociability.Considering the identical environment these juvenile fish were exposed to, these findings suggest a potential (epi)genetic foundation for these correlations and shows that, in three-spined sticklebacks, the proximate basis for correlations between body length and behaviour appears quite malleable.