TESTING FOR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ANIMAL PERSONALITY TRAITS, ACTIVITY LEVEL AND VORACITY, AND THE UNDERLYING INFLUENCE OF BODY SIZE IN THE DRAGONFLY PREDATOR, EPITHECA CANIS
Date of Award
Bachelor of Science
Animal personality, defined as among-individual variation in behavior, is taxonomically widespread, but its ecological implications remain unclear. While associations between animal personality and ecological traits have been examined, methodological shortcomings, such as lack of repeated measurements, limit the insights these studies provide. Here, I measured the repeatability of activity level and feeding rate behaviors in the nymph stage of the dragonfly predator, Epitheca canis, taking 10 repeated measurements of each trait over a 10-week period. Moreover, I tested for a relationship between among-individual variation in activity level and feeding rate while accounting for the underlying influence of nymph body size. While nymph feeding rate was highly repeatable across short and long timescales (i.e., individuals exhibited differences in voracity), activity level was not correlated with voracity. This lack of relationship between activity level and voracity was likely due to the low repeatability of activity level. However, dragonfly nymph body size influenced voracity, with larger nymphs consuming more Daphnia magna prey. Even after accounting for the positive relationship between body size and voracity, voracity was still shown to be highly repeatable. Overall, my findings suggest the personality of dragonfly activity level may only occur over short timescales, which limits its ecological effects on predator-prey interactions. Yet, individual differences in voracity can influence predator-prey interaction strength, and thus improving our understanding of voracity drivers as an important topic for future studies.
Gorman, Flynn, "TESTING FOR RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN ANIMAL PERSONALITY TRAITS, ACTIVITY LEVEL AND VORACITY, AND THE UNDERLYING INFLUENCE OF BODY SIZE IN THE DRAGONFLY PREDATOR, EPITHECA CANIS". Senior Theses, Trinity College, Hartford, CT 2023.
Trinity College Digital Repository, https://digitalrepository.trincoll.edu/theses/1021
Senior thesis completed at Trinity College, Hartford for the degree of Bachelor or Science in Biology.