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Data from: Replacing bold individuals has a smaller impact on group performance than replacing shy individuals

Citation

Pinter-Wollman, Noa; Mi, Brian; Pruitt, Jonathan N. (2017), Data from: Replacing bold individuals has a smaller impact on group performance than replacing shy individuals, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.5q6s3

Abstract

In many animal societies just one or few individuals, referred to as keystone individuals, can have a disproportionately large impact on collective outcomes. Despite ongoing interest in the consequences of losing a keystone individual on group performance, little is known about whether other individuals with an appropriate behavioral type can readily assume the keystone role. Here we examine if the identity of a keystone individual impacts its influence on the collective behavior of its group in a society of social spiders. We find that the repeated replacement of a keystone individual, which is typically a group’s boldest constituent, has little impact on the collective prey capture of the colony. However, repeatedly replacing a shy, generic, individual in the group reduces prey capture success. Groups in which the keystone individual is repeatedly replaced increase their overall boldness, thus potentially collectively substituting the bold behavioral type that they lost. Furthermore, newly replaced keystone individuals participate in a greater proportion of prey attacks than established keystone individuals in undisturbed colonies, as seen in prior work on colony social development, suggesting that the repeated replacement of a keystone individual maintains colonies in an early stage of social succession. By uncovering the mechanisms that underlie a group’s robustness to social perturbations, our work sheds light on how social dynamics dictate colony-level phenotypes in animal groups.

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