Understanding repeatability and plasticity in multiple dimensions of the sociability of wild female kangaroos

Menz, Clementine S., Goldizen, Anne W., Blomberg, Simon P., Freeman, Natalie J. and Best, Emily C. (2017) Understanding repeatability and plasticity in multiple dimensions of the sociability of wild female kangaroos. Animal Behaviour, 126 3-16. doi:10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.01.012


Author Menz, Clementine S.
Goldizen, Anne W.
Blomberg, Simon P.
Freeman, Natalie J.
Best, Emily C.
Title Understanding repeatability and plasticity in multiple dimensions of the sociability of wild female kangaroos
Journal name Animal Behaviour   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-3472
1095-8282
Publication date 2017-04-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2017.01.012
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 126
Start page 3
End page 16
Total pages 14
Place of publication London, United Kingdom
Publisher Elsevier
Collection year 2018
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Sociability, how individuals interact with conspecifics, is considered to be a key axis of animal personality. Consistent differences between individuals in measures of sociability have been demonstrated in some taxa, yet individuals also exhibit plasticity in their sociability across differing ecological conditions, particularly in gregarious species that do not occur in stable cohesive groups. Although repeatability and plasticity of measures of sociability are both important for understanding animal personality they have rarely been studied concurrently. Between and even within species, multiple behaviours have been considered to represent sociability, but there is still little understanding of the degree to which different measures of sociability reflect distinct traits. In this study, our first aim was to determine the repeatability of four different measures, representing two broad aspects of individual females’ sociability, in a wild population of eastern grey kangaroos, Macropus giganteus. Our second aim was to investigate how shorter-term environmental conditions and individuals’ states related to plasticity in these measures. Using data collected each month over a 5-year period on over 100 adult females, we analysed factors contributing to variation in individuals’ grouping patterns (to reflect general gregariousness) and in the number of different conspecifics with which individuals associated (their ‘choosiness’ of social partners). Rainfall, body condition and reproductive state were all related to females’ mean group sizes, and females with older dependent young foraged further from their neighbours. Females were more selective about group members when there was more food, and when they were in poor or excellent body condition. Although social preferences exist among females in this population, and females’ measures of sociability are repeatable and differ between individuals over the long term, these current findings suggest that the influences of individuals’ states and environmental conditions contribute to variation in females’ patterns of sociability over shorter periods.
Keyword Association patterns
Behavioural plasticity
Body condition
Fission–fusion sociality
Gregariousness
Macropus giganteus
Personality
Reproductive state
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: HERDC Pre-Audit
School of Biological Sciences Publications
 
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