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

Authors

  • Wiebke Schuett,

    Corresponding author
    1. Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany
    Current affiliation:
    1. Finnish Museum of Natural History, FI-00014 University of Helsinki, P.O. Box 17, Helsinki, Finland.
    • Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany.
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  • Sasha R.X. Dall,

    1. Centre for Ecology and Conservation, School of Biosciences, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, Penryn, Cornwall TR10 9EZ, UK
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  • Jana Baeumer,

    1. Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany
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  • Michaela H. Kloesener,

    1. Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany
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  • Shinichi Nakagawa,

    1. Department of Zoology, University of Otago, 340 Great King Street, Dunedin, New Zealand
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  • Felix Beinlich,

    1. Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany
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  • Till Eggers

    1. Experimental Ecology Group, Department for Biology and Chemistry, University of Osnabrueck, Barbarastrasse 11, 49069 Osnabrueck, Germany
    2. Agricultural Products Global Research, Data Management and Biometrics, BASF The Chemical Company, Carl Bosch Str., 67117 Limburgerhof, Germany
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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. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Dev Psychobiol 53:631–640, 2011.

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