Journal Article

Food limitation leads to risky decision making and to tradeoffs with oviposition

Zachary Stahlschmidt, Mary Elizabeth O’Leary and Shelley Adamo

in Behavioral Ecology

Published on behalf of International Society for Behavioral Ecology

Volume 25, issue 1, pages 223-227
Published in print January 2014 | ISSN: 1045-2249
Published online December 2013 | e-ISSN: 1465-7279 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/beheco/art110
Food limitation leads to risky decision making and to tradeoffs with oviposition

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A growing body of research over the past decade indicates that interindividual variation in behavior can result from a variety of factors. Two important sources of this variation are behavioral plasticity (adaptive variation in behavior) and behavioral type (i.e., an individual with consistent behavioral differences across one or more situations). Although oviposition-site selection (OS) is widespread and affects both parents and offspring, it has been overlooked in the context of the behavioral type. Thus, we used the Texas field cricket (Gryllus texensis) to determine if OS could be integrated into the behavioral type paradigm and if a relevant environmental variable (food limitation) influences behavioral type. We found that behavioral type was consistent across contexts because individuals exhibiting riskier (bolder) behavior in a novel environment also exhibited riskier behavior during oviposition. Also, individuals traded off safety with food availability during oviposition—that is, fasted crickets were more likely to choose food over safety (shelter) when making an oviposition decision. Last, relative to fed crickets, those that were fasted oviposited fewer eggs during overnight trials in which food was available. By integrating a behavior tightly linked to multigenerational fitness with an established behavioral assay (behavior to novel stimuli), we show that behavioral type can be both consistent across contexts and plastic in response to a ubiquitous environmental factor (food limitation).

Keywords: behavioral syndrome; behavioral type; cricket; parental care; predation; reproduction.

Journal Article.  4504 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology ; Ecology and Conservation ; Zoology and Animal Sciences

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