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Personality and physiological traits predict contest interactions in Kryptolebias marmoratus

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Abstract

Personality and physiological traits often have close relationships with dominance status, but the significance and/or direction of the relationships vary between studies. This study examines whether two personality traits (aggressiveness and boldness) and three physiological traits (testosterone and cortisol levels and oxygen consumption rates) are associated with contest decisions/performance using a mangrove killifish Kryptolebias marmoratus. The results show that individuals that attacked their own mirror images (an aggressiveness index) at higher rates or had higher levels of testosterone were more likely to attack their opponent and win non-escalated contests, while individuals that had higher levels of cortisol were more likely to lose. After the contests, (1) individuals that had attacked their opponents or won had higher post-contest oxygen consumption rates, and (2) individuals that had attacked their opponents also had higher post-contest levels of cortisol. Although no significant correlations were detected among pre-contest physiological traits, post-contest levels of cortisol were positively correlated with oxygen consumption rates. Overall, personality and physiological traits provide useful predictors for the fish's contest decisions/performance. Contest interactions subsequently modified post-contest physiological traits and potentially also promoted associations between them. Nevertheless, the fish's physiological traits remained rather consistent over the entire study period.

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Li, C. Y., Tseng, Y. C., Chen, Y. J., Yang, Y., & Hsu, Y. (2020). Personality and physiological traits predict contest interactions in Kryptolebias marmoratus. Behavioural Processes, 173. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.beproc.2020.104079

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