Unraveling behavioral and pace-of-life syndromes in a reduced parasite and predation pressure context: personality and survival of the Barbary ground squirrel
van der Marel, Annemarie
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Personality traits overlap in behavioral syndromes that are assumed to be related to physiology and life history traits, shaping pace-of-life syndromes. Boldness and explorative behavior are frequently associated to higher parasite loads, increased resource acquisition, less efficient antipredator behavior, and reduced survival (e.g. through predation). We explored how personality is related to these biological traits using an invasive species –Atlantoxerus getulus in Fuerteventura island- as a model system with reduced parasitism and low predation pressure. We used breath rate during handling, open field tests and escape trials to test for the existence of inter-individual differences in boldness, explorative behavior and escape speed. We also tested whether the personality traits were related and formed behavioral syndromes in A. getulus. At the same time, we explored how personality is related to ectoparasite load, body condition and survival in the species. We found strong between-individual differences in breath rate, readiness to get in the open field arena and escape speed. We found a behavioral syndrome, linking open field entrance and escape speed, occurs in A. getulus. However, personality was not related to parasite load or body condition and survival was higher for bolder individuals. As a whole, our results suggest reduced parasites and predator pressures on Fuerteventura may have potentially neutralized the typical drawbacks of a fast pace-of-life in the introduced population of A. getulus.