August 5, 2014 at 1:03 pm

D’Amore Presents ‘Maternal Environment Influences Development of Behavioral Syndrome in Swordtail Fish’

Biological Sciences graduate student Danny D’Amore presented “Maternal Environment Influences Development of Behavioral Syndrome in Swordtail Fish, Xiphophorus multilineatus” at the 2014 Joint Meeting of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists July 30 to Aug. 4 in Chattanooga, TN.

Danny D'Amore

Danny D’Amore, graduate student

His co-authors were Oscar Rios-Cardenas of the Instituto de Ecología in Mexico and Dr. Molly Morris, Professor of Biological Sciences at Ohio University

Abstract: Despite a rising interest in behavioral syndromes, the correlation between different behaviors across context and time at a population level, the development of these syndromes is not yet well understood. Using the swordtail fish Xiphophorus multilineatus, we looked at the effects of maternal diet and social environment during development on the formation of behavioral syndromes. Females were raised on high or low quality diets and bred. Fry were isolated at two weeks of age and raised on a low quality diet. Half of the offspring from each maternal group were exposed to an adult male during development, and the other half were exposed to an empty fry box. Once fish reached sexual maturity, males were tested for aggression towards a conspecific and boldness under risk of predation. Maternal diet was shown to have an effect on the development of a behavioral syndrome. Specifically, offspring whose mothers were raised on a high quality diet exhibited a correlation between boldness and aggression, with maternal diet having a relationship with boldness under risk of predation. Exposure to an adult male did not have a significant effect on either behavior, or on a correlation between behaviors. These results suggest that the maternal environment differed between females raised on high or low quality diets, and this in turn affected the relationship between boldness and aggression in their offspring.

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