Deakin University
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Individual (co)variation in standard metabolic rate, feeding rate, and exploratory behavior in wild-caught semiaquatic salamanders

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Version 2 2024-06-06, 11:38
Version 1 2015-03-18, 15:46
journal contribution
posted on 2024-06-06, 11:38 authored by ME Gifford, TA Clay, V Careau
Repeatability is an important concept in evolutionary analyses because it provides information regarding the benefit of repeated measurements and, in most cases, a putative upper limit to heritability estimates. Repeatability (R) of different aspects of energy metabolism and behavior has been demonstrated in a variety of organisms over short and long time intervals. Recent research suggests that consistent individual differences in behavior and energy metabolism might covary. Here we present new data on the repeatability of body mass, standard metabolic rate (SMR), voluntary exploratory behavior, and feeding rate in a semiaquatic salamander and ask whether individual variation in behavioral traits is correlated with individual variation in metabolism on a whole-animal basis and after conditioning on body mass. All measured traits were repeatable, but the repeatability estimates ranged from very high for body mass (R = 0.98), to intermediate for SMR (R = 0.39) and food intake (R = 0.58), to low for exploratory behavior (R = 0.25). Moreover, repeatability estimates for all traits except body mass declined over time (i.e., from 3 to 9 wk), although this pattern could be a consequence of the relatively low sample size used in this study. Despite significant repeatability in all traits, we find little evidence that behaviors are correlated with SMR at the phenotypic and among-individual levels when conditioned on body mass. Specifically, the phenotypic correlations between SMR and exploratory behavior were negative in all trials but significantly so in one trial only. Salamanders in this study showed individual variation in how their exploratory behavior changed across trials (but not body mass, SMR, and feed intake), which might have contributed to observed changing correlations across trials.



Physiological and biochemical zoology






Chicago, IL

Open access

  • Yes







Publication classification

C Journal article, C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, University of Chicago Press




University of Chicago Press