Bold-shy personality traits of globally invasive, native and hatchery-reared fish

Ellie Sales, Leia Rogers, Rafael Freire, Osmar Luiz, R. Keller Kopf

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Bold behaviour of non-native species is hypothesized to facilitate invasion success, yet extreme boldness in wild and domesticated animals can be maladaptive. The purpose of this study was to compare individual behaviour among Australian native hatchery-reared (n = 33) and wild (n = 38) Murray cod (Maccullochella peelii) with invasive common carp (Cyprinus carpio; n = 30). Three laboratory tests measured individual behaviour: (1) emergence from a shelter, (2) exploration of a novel environment, and (3) approaching a predator. Wild invasive carp and hatchery-reared cod were generally faster and more likely to emerge and explore novel environments when compared with wild Murray cod. The 'bold-type' behaviours of hatchery-reared native cod were more like invasive carp than they were to 'shy-type' wild conspecifics, yet an important difference was that hatchery-reared cod spent substantially more time near a large predator while carp rapidly escaped. We suggest that these results are consistent with a bold-type invasion syndrome in invasive carp and learned boldness of hatchery-reared Murray cod. The propensity of invasive carp to rapidly explore and enter new environments, along with a fast predator escape response may have been important to their invasion success, while extreme risk-taking and predator naivety of hatchery-reared Murray cod may exacerbate post-release mortality rates in fisheries and conservation stocking programmes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number231035
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2023


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