Individual variation in functional response parameters is explained by body size but not by behavioural types in a poeciliid fish

Arne SchröderRobert Arlinghaus


Functional responses are per-capita feeding rate models whose parameters often scale with individual body size but the parameters may also be further influenced by behavioural traits consistently differing among individuals, i.e. behavioural types or animal personalities. Behavioural types may intrinsically lead to lower feeding rates when consistently shy, inactive and easily stressed individuals cannot identify or respond to risk-free environments or need less food due to lower metabolic rates linked to behaviour. To test how much variation in functional response parameters is explained by body size and how much by behavioural types, we estimated attack rate and handling time individually for differently sized female least killifish (Heterandria formosa) and repeatedly measured behavioural traits for each individual. We found that individual fish varied substantially in their attack rate and in their handling time. Behavioural traits were stable over time and varied consistently among individuals along two distinct personality axes. The individual variation in functional responses was explained solely by body size, and contrary to our expectations, not additionally by the existing behavioural types in exploration activity and...Continue Reading


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