Date Approved

2017

Degree Type

Campus Only Senior Honors Thesis

Department

Biology

First Advisor

Cara Shillington

Abstract

Behavioral syndromes are a set of behaviors an individual animal is more likely to engage in. Many factors such as social structures and dynamics physiological properties, and genetics influence animal behavior. However, most research related to behavior has been done in vertebrates. and very little is known about invertebrate behavioral syndromes We examined the impact of environmental enrichment and age on tarantula behavior over a 6-month period, with the hypothesis that enriched environments would stimulate bolder behavior, and younger tarantulas would be more greatly influenced by environmental enrichment. Behavior was assessed by comparing bold and shy behaviors; measurements included latency to capture and exploratory behavior. Two age groups were used - spiderlings and juveniles - and split into separate environmental types: simple and enriched. Juveniles wore found lo be significantly bolder in exploratory behavior than the spiderlings (p < 0.0001 ), though no significant difference was found between the two types of environments (p = 0.538). Conversely, the spiderlings had significantly lower prey capture times (p < 0.05) and no difference was found in latency or prey capture between environmental groups (p=0.3211). These results suggest that a certain age or size may play an important role in behavioral syndromes, while the degree of environment enrichment we provided had little effect.

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