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The emergence and development of behavioral individuality in clonal fish

Cite this dataset

Laskowski, Kate et al. (2022). The emergence and development of behavioral individuality in clonal fish [Dataset]. Dryad.


Behavioral individuality is a ubiquitous phenomenon in animal populations, yet the origins and developmental trajectories of individuality, especially very early in life, are still a black box. Using a high-resolution tracking system, we mapped the behavioral trajectories of genetically identical fish (Poecilia formosa), separated immediately after birth into identical environments, over the first 10 weeks of their life at 3s resolution. We find that (i) strong behavioral individuality is present at the very first day after birth, (ii) behavioral differences at day 1 of life predict behavior up to at least 10 weeks later, and (iii) patterns of individuality strengthen gradually over developmental time. Our results establish a null model for how behavioral individuality can develop in the absence of genetic and environmental variation and provide experimental evidence that later-in-life individuality can be strongly shaped by factors pre-dating birth like maternal provisioning, epigenetics, and pre-birth developmental stochasticity.


Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, Award: BI 1828/2-1

Germany's Excellence Strategy, Award: EXC 2002/1

Germany's Excellence Strategy, Award: 390523135

Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, Award: Postdoctoral Fellowship

University of Konstanz, Award: Zukunftskolleg Institute of Advanced Studies

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-2100625