Environmental temperature during early life affects the personality of mosquitofish in adulthood
Personality has been observed in a variety of animal taxa with important implications in ecology and evolution. Exploring the influence of environmental temperature during early life on personality could help to understand the ontogeny of this phenotypic trait in animals. In this study, we reared newborn mosquitofish Gambusia affinis at high (30 °C) and low (25 °C) water temperatures and measured their shyness and exploration upon sexual maturity. We tested the repeatability of each behavioral
... of each behavioral trait, the correlation between them, and the effects of rearing temperature, sex, and body length on the behaviors. When growing up at low temperatures, female fish exhibited repeatability in shyness and exploration, and males exhibited marginal repeatability in shyness. However, neither of the two behaviors were repeatable when the fish were reared at high temperatures. There was a negative correlation between shyness and exploration, indicating that the two behaviors comprise a behavioral syndrome in this species. Mosquitofish reared at high temperatures were more explorative than those reared at low temperatures, while there was no difference in shyness between the two treatments. Body length and sex had no significant effects on the average values of the two behaviors. The results indicate that environmental temperature during early life could shape the personality of mosquitofish and modify the average of the behavioral traits. These findings might provide insights to understand the ontogeny of animal personality and how changes in environmental temperature influence animal dispersal by shaping their personality.