Behaviour 2019
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Habitat-dependent variation in personality does not affect foraging behaviour in a thermophilic ant
Swetashree Kolay1, Raphael Boulay2, Elena Angulo3, Patrizia d'Ettorre1,4, Xim Cerda3. 1Universite Sorbonne Paris Nord, Villetaneuse, , France; 2University of Tours, Tours, , France; 3Estacion Biologica de Donana, Sevilla, , Spain; 4Institut Universitaire de France, Paris, , France

Consistent variation in behavioural traits among individuals has been documented along large-scale environmental gradients in several species. However, the effect of local environmental variation on behaviour and the functional significance of such variation remain largely unexplored. Here, we investigated the variation in personality traits among colonies of the thermophilic ant, Aphaenogaster senilis, in two habitats (open and forest) and its effect on their foraging efficiency. The two habitats varied significantly in canopy cover and nest entrance temperatures. Colonies in the open habitat were more active but foraging distances did not differ significantly between the two habitats. Colonies showed consistent variation in their activity levels and foraging distances with more active colonies having longer foraging distances. However, colony personality did not affect the foraging behaviour and foraging success as colonies in both habitats were equally efficient in retrieving different food resources. This demonstrates that habitat-dependent differences in personality traits has no clear influence on the functioning of ant colonies.