Table of Contents
International Journal of Evolutionary Biology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 321729, 15 pages
Research Article

Repeatability and Heritability of Behavioural Types in a Social Cichlid

Department of Behavioural Ecology, Institute of Ecology and Evolution, University of Bern, 3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland

Received 11 December 2010; Accepted 28 February 2011

Academic Editor: Kristina M. Sefc

Copyright © 2011 Noémie Chervet et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Aim. The quantitative genetics underlying correlated behavioural traits (‘‘animal personality’’) have hitherto been studied mainly in domesticated animals. Here we report the repeatability ( 𝑅 ) and heritability ( 2 ) of behavioural types in the highly social cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher. Methods. We tested 1779 individuals repeatedly and calculated the 2 of behavioural types by variance components estimation (GLMM REML), using 1327 offspring from 162 broods from 74 pairs. Results. Repeatability of behavioural types was significant and considerable (0.546), but declined from 0.83 between tests conducted on the same day, to 0.19 on tests conducted up to 1201 days apart. All 2 estimates were significant but low (e.g., pair identity 2 = 0 . 1 5 ± 0 . 0 3 SE). Additionally, we found significant variation between broods nested within the parent(s), but these were not related to several environmental factors tested. Conclusions. We conclude that despite a considerable 𝑅 , 2 in this cichlid species is low, and variability in behavioural type appears to be strongly affected by other (non)genetic effects.