Date Approved

2014

Date Posted

4-22-2014

Degree Type

Campus Only Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Cara Shillington

Second Advisor

James VandenBosch

Abstract

Personalities in both invertebrates and vertebrates, alike, are a leading area of research that offers important insights into ecological and evolutionary connections. Recent studies have indicated a correlation between behavior and life history, which may in turn impact overall fitness. Personalities of Lasiodora parahybana tarantulas were investigated by recording behavioral traits on a shy-bold scale during feeding and locomotory trials as well as responses to an aversive stimulus. Animals were also divided into low- and high-feeding treatments. Growth rates and behaviors were compared between the two groups. Lower-fed organisms consumed more prey items overall, higher-fed organisms had greater weight gains but there were few behavioral differences in prey capture. During 90-minute locomotory trials, lower-fed individuals were more active throughout the entire trial, while high-fed individuals ceased all activity within the first 45 minutes of the trial. No differences were found in the amount of time that both groups spend in close proximity to the wall of the area. Both feeding groups exhibited low levels of aggression in response to the aversive stimuli. Overall, low-fed spiderlings demonstrated bold responses in locomotory trials, which may suggest active foraging, while high-fed were mostly immobile. There were differences in responses to the aversive stimuli between the groups, with the low-fed group tending to huddle, while the high-fed group more often remained unresponsive. However, none of the behaviors are necessarily bold behaviors, which is not unexpected with New World tarantulas.

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