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Do environmental conditions affect personality traits in Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)?

Figueiredo Passos, L and Loughlin, B (2019) Do environmental conditions affect personality traits in Poison Dart Frog (Dendrobates auratus)? LJMU.

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Abstract

Through the past few decades, there has been an increase on research centred on the proposition that animals can alter their behaviour phenotype to better cope with the environmental conditions through their lifetime. These changes can lead to individual differences in behaviour that are significantly relevant to conservation, in terms of anti-predator, exploratory and risk-taking behaviour. The captive environment is widely different from any wild habitat, if animals are being kept for conservation, it is imperative to consider how housing conditions can affect their behaviour and personality. The aim of this study was to understand the effect of environmental conditions on personality traits of Dendrobates auratus. A group of frogs was kept under basic standard conditions and a second group under environmental enriched conditions, different live plants, caves, hiding spots. During the length of the experiment, no alterations were made to the standard conditions group, while the enriched groups had changes made to their enclosure every 3 weeks. Feeding and water regime were the same for both groups. Standardised arena trials were used to test exploratory and risk-taking behaviour on both experimental groups. We observed that frogs kept on basic conditions scored higher for both exploratory and risk-taking behaviour, suggesting that these differences could be adaptive responses to their environment conditions. Frogs with environment enrichment had more hiding spots and more optimal conditions with no necessity to explore to find a more suitable habitat. Frogs under basic conditions had less hiding opportunities and a suboptimal habitat, therefore a need to explore for a more suitable environment. During a reintroduction programme, ideally animals should stay on the release habitat, with many studies showing that bolder and exploratory animals having a higher mortality during reintroductions. This study highlight the effect of housing conditions for zoo kept animals on behavioural traits, especially if these are considered for future reintroductions.

Item Type: Other
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (new Sep 19)
Publisher: LJMU
Date Deposited: 19 Feb 2020 10:40
Last Modified: 19 Feb 2020 10:40
URI: http://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/12284

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