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The emergence and development of behavioral individuality in clonal fish


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


Behavioral individuality is a ubiquitous phenomenon in animal populations yet the origin and developmental trajectories of individuality, especially very early in life, are essentially still a black box. Using a high-resolution tracking system, we mapped the exact behavioral trajectories of genetically identical fish (Poecilia formosa), separated immediately after birth into identical environments, over the first 10 weeks of their life at 3 second 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 powerful 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-Stiftung, Award: Postdoctoral Fellowship

Universität Konstanz, Award: Zukunftskolleg Institute of Advanced Studies

National Science Foundation, Award: IOS-2100625