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Dev Psychobiol. 2011 Sep;53(6):631-40. doi: 10.1002/dev.20538. Epub 2011 Mar 1.

Personality variation in a clonal insect: the pea aphid, Acyrthosiphon pisum.

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  • 1Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany. wiebkesch@googlemail.com

Abstract

Individuals are often consistent in their behavior but vary from each other in the level of behavior shown. Despite burgeoning interest in such animal personality variation, studies on invertebrates are scarce, and studies on clonal invertebrates nonexistent. This is surprising given the obvious advantages of using invertebrates/clones to tackle the crucial question why such consistent behavioral differences exist. Here we show that individuals of clonal pea aphids exhibit consistent behavioral differences in their escape responses to a predator attack (dropping vs. nondropping off a plant). However, behavior was not repeatable at the clonal level. Genetically identical clones expressed various phenotypes but different clones produced different proportions of each phenotype (dropper, nondropper, and inconsistent). Manipulations of early environmental conditions had little qualitative impact on such patterns. We discuss the importance of our findings for future studies of the evolutionary and ecological consequences of personality variation.

PMID:
21365642
DOI:
10.1002/dev.20538
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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