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Size-related boldness is not altered by stomach flushing in a terrestrial salamander

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-03-18, 08:31 authored by Sebastiano Salvidio, Andrea Costa, Fabrizio Oneto
Animal personality is a relatively neglected field in amphibian research. In this study we assessed the influence of stomach flushing, a non-lethal technique used in amphibian dietary studies, on the boldness behaviour of the cave salamander Speleomantes strinatii. The time of emergence from a shelter located in an unfamiliar environment (a proxy for individual boldness) was measured in 26 cave salamanders before and after stomach flushing, while 14 non-flushed salamanders were tested as controls. Boldness was a repeatable behaviour for salamanders and larger individuals emerged from their shelter more rapidly than smaller ones. Linear mixed model analysis showed that flushing, sex and body condition had no effect on this behaviour. These findings are promising in the framework of the study of salamander personality. In particular, our results will be useful when exploring the relationship between individual trophic strategy and boldness, aggression or exploration behaviours in terrestrial salamanders.