Personalities and behavioral syndromes

Recently, many animal behavior studies have discovered that individuals of the same species may differ consistently in their behavior; this is also known for individuals in social insect colonies (who are often task specialists, rev. in (Jandt et al. 2014). We have demonstrated that this is also true at the group level for ant colonies (Bengston and Dornhaus 2014). Moreover, in these ants (Temnothorax rugatulus) a suite of ecologically relevant traits are linked in a behavioral syndrome, which in turn is linked primarily to the level of local competition that colonies experience (Bengston and Dornhaus 2014; Bengston and Dornhaus 2015). Ant colonies provide an excellent model system to study the evolution of behavioral syndromes, e.g. because investment in growth vs reproduction can be readily quantified – which in our case showed that the variation among colonies is likely driven by differences in life history strategy (Bengston and Dornhaus in prep), leading to behavioral trade-offs across a large spectrum of traits.