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Data from: Behavioural syndromes vary among geographically distinct populations in a reptile

Cite this dataset

Michelangeli, Marcus et al. (2018). Data from: Behavioural syndromes vary among geographically distinct populations in a reptile [Dataset]. Dryad.


A key goal in the study of animal personalities is to determine their adaptive potential and importance for behavioural evolution. Behavioural syndromes are evolutionarily intriguing because they suggest that an adaptive change in one behaviour requires a concomitant shift in another. Within species, behavioural syndromes might be evolutionarily constrained by intrinsic mechanisms that restrict behaviours from evolving independently. Alternatively, behavioural correlations might easily be decoupled over short evolutionary time-scales due to variation in selective pressures between environments. In this regard, comparative studies that explore differences in diverse aspects of personality between geographically distinct populations can provide valuable insights into the evolutionary processes acting on different behavioural tendencies. Accordingly, we investigated how behavioural types and behavioural syndromes differed across four geographically distinct populations of the delicate skink, Lampropholis delicata. We found strong evidence of mean trait-level variation in activity, exploration, and boldness across populations, suggesting adaptation to local environmental conditions. Similarly, we found that within-population correlations involving boldness varied substantially between populations. However, we did find a consistent within- and among-population correlation between activity and exploration, suggesting that this behavioural syndrome is relatively stable and could explain behavioural divergence in activity and exploration between populations. We suggest that there may be thermal physiological mechanisms that could be limiting the adaptive potential of an activity-exploration correlation in the delicate skink. Broadly, we argue that some behavioural correlations may be more adaptive than others, and that this should be more regularly considered within the animal personality framework.

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New South Wales