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Keywords:

  • personality;
  • behavioral syndrome;
  • exploratory behavior

Abstract

Behavioral ecologists are increasingly interested in patterns of repeatable variation in behaviors. The study of this variation, under the label ‘animal personality’, frequently makes assumptions both in regards to what the ecological significance of particular behavioral responses might be and whether different methodologies in fact test the same behavior. Here, using house crickets (Acheta domesticus), we tested whether stereotypical approaches to quantifying repeatable variation in exploratory behavior measured the same behaviors. We found that house cricket exploratory behavior was highly repeatable in two populations (repeatability: 0.37–0.51). However, exploratory behavior across two different testing methods was not strongly correlated (= −0.17 to 0.14). This suggests that either different behaviors or distinct components of exploratory behavior were being measured. Our results also support recent criticisms that care needs to be taken in describing personality traits.