IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Behavioral type and growth rate in a cichlid fish


  • Dik Heg
  • Roger Schürch
  • Susan Rothenberger


Behavioral syndromes or animal personalities may emerge due to covariation with different life-history strategies individual animals pursue, like risk-associated feeding rates translating in different growth trajectories. However, less clear is how this might affect individuals in cooperatively breeding species, where subordinates assist dominants in raising offspring, and growth has profound life-history and social consequences. Here, we examined the effects of behavioral type on growth rates and feeding in the cooperatively breeding cichlid fish Neolamprologus pulcher, comparing growth rates of individuals settled inside a group (dominant or subordinate) or unsettled fish (aggregation) of different behavioral types (bold-shy continuum) under a feeding regime where food could not be monopolized. Controlling for other factors, we found no effect of the behavioral type on the growth rates of dominants and subordinates in either sex. In contrast, bold female aggregation fish were significantly growing faster in length compared with shy female aggregation fish, whereas no such effect was detected in male aggregation fish. These growth rate differences were largely matched by differences in feeding rates, but locomotion appeared more important in determining growth than feeding rate. Our results show that differences in social status may need to be taken into account when testing for correlations between behavioral type and growth in vertebrates, and cautions that growth adjustments may get obscured due to correlated changes in other costly behaviors, like locomotion. Copyright 2011, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Dik Heg & Roger Schürch & Susan Rothenberger, 2011. "Behavioral type and growth rate in a cichlid fish," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 22(6), pages 1227-1233.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1227-1233

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to subscribers.

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. A. Guenther & F. Trillmich, 2013. "Photoperiod influences the behavioral and physiological phenotype during ontogeny," Behavioral Ecology, International Society for Behavioral Ecology, vol. 24(2), pages 402-411.

    More about this item


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:oup:beheco:v:22:y:2011:i:6:p:1227-1233. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Oxford University Press) or (Christopher F. Baum). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.