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Data from: Life-history and behavioral trait covariation across 3 years in Temnothorax ants

Cite this dataset

Bengston, Sarah E. (2018). Data from: Life-history and behavioral trait covariation across 3 years in Temnothorax ants [Dataset]. Dryad.


Consistent among- individual differences in behavior have been described in numerous taxa. More recently, the hypothesis that such behavioral variation may also correlate to life-history traits, such as investment in current or future reproduction, has been proposed as a potential explanation for why variation is maintained among and within populations. A continual challenge in measuring the integration of these traits, or the Pace – of – Life Syndrome, is to find a reliable and quantifiable proxy for energy allocation between reproduction and self-maintenance. Here, I address this challenge using the eusocial insects, Temnothorax ants, in a common garden experiment to directly quantify energy allocation by tracking the number of sterile workers (somatic effort) and winged reproductive ants (reproductive effort) produced across years. I use colonies collected from populations previously demonstrated to show significant differences in a risk-tolerance behavioral syndrome. I provide an empirical test of the Pace – Of – Life Syndrome hypothesis between two populations of Temnothorax ants over three years. I find strong evidence for a Pace – Of – Life Syndrome between populations and weaker, but present support for a within population POLS. More risk-tolerant populations also allocate more energy towards reproduction and grow faster across years. This study then emphasizes the value of a more holistic study of among-individual variation. Additionally, it suggests more research is needed on understanding how and why traits may correlate in some populations, but remain independent in others.

Usage notes


National Science Foundation, Award: DBI-1523923