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Relationships between personality traits and the physiological stress response in a wild mammal.
Current Zoology ( IF 2.351 ) Pub Date : 2019-08-16 , DOI: 10.1093/cz/zoz040
Francesca Santicchia,Lucas A Wauters,Ben Dantzer,Sarah E Westrick,Nicola Ferrari,Claudia Romeo,Rupert Palme,Damiano G Preatoni,Adriano Martinoli

Glucocorticoids (GCs) are involved in the regulation of an animal's energetic state. Under stressful situations, they are part of the neuroendocrine response to cope with environmental challenges. Animals react to aversive stimuli also through behavioral responses, defined as coping styles. Both in captive and wild populations, individuals differ in their behavior along a proactive-reactive continuum. Proactive animals exhibit a bold, active-explorative and social personality, whereas reactive ones are shy, less active-explorative and less social. Here, we test the hypothesis that personality traits and physiological responses to stressors covary, with more proactive individuals having a less pronounced GC stress response. In wild populations of invasive gray squirrels Sciurus carolinensis, we measured fecal glucocorticoid metabolites (FGMs), an integrated measure of circulating GCs, and 3 personality traits (activity, sociability, and exploration) derived from open field test (OFT) and mirror image stimulation (MIS) test. Gray squirrels had higher FGMs in Autumn than in Winter and males with scrotal testes had higher FGMs than nonbreeding males. Personality varied with body mass and population density. Squirrels expressed more activity-exploration at higher than at lower density and heavier squirrels had higher scores for activity-exploration than animals that weighed less. Variation in FGM concentrations was not correlated with the expression of the 3 personality traits. Hence, our results do not support a strong association between the behavioral and physiological stress responses but show that in wild populations, where animals experience varying environmental conditions, the GC endocrine response and the expression of personality are uncorrelated traits among individuals.
更新日期:2020-04-17

 

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