Hermit crabs of varying sizes
You can’t deny that the small hermit crabs also have their own personalities: the “thief” eyes that grow on the protruding eyestalks, the “twitching” chewing mouthparts, the ridiculously brisk walk, and then trips. Inside the thick and heavy “host house” shell.
But this kind of funny crustacean is not unique in personality.
If you go to the shore where the hermit crabs live and urge them to drive them away, or cover the sunlight from above to cast a shadow on them, then they will withdraw back to a safe snail shell, after a while Later, I would stick my head out to see if the surrounding environment is suitable for “playing”, and after confirmation, I walked out of the “house” again. If you repeatedly frighten hermit crabs, you will find that some hermit crabs are very daring, and will come out after a short while; some are very daring, and will not dare to show up for a long time after being frightened. This shows that hermit crabs are bold and courageous, and of course there are some in between.
However, hermit crabs are not the only ones in the animal kingdom that possess such vastly different personality characteristics. According to a 2014 study, a common species in the UK, the soil beetle, can also be bold and shy. In fact, as long as we carefully explore the differences in the personalities of animals, it seems that we can find them, including elephants, monkeys, apes and birds, as well as fish, spiders, insects and sea anemones.
Diametrically opposed personality
Courage is only one aspect of animal personality. Scientists have also proved that other animals are different in personality, such as leader-follower, good at socializing and living alone, attacking-docile type, curious-fearful type, active-quiet type, conscientious type— Often distracted… For
example, the dog sharks with small spots living in the ocean will gather together for predation, while others will avoid “group organization”; the dumpling squid in southern Australia faces When facing opponents, some will run away, some will bravely rush to fight with them; New Zealand robins are very different in their ability to solve problems and obtain food; female African elephants have significant differences in social skills and leadership skills; and scientists have found that chimpanzees The behavior of humans is the same as that of human beings. They have the same five personality characteristics: openness, conscientiousness, extroversion, affinity and emotional instability.
In fact, this is not a shocking phenomenon, because there are differences in individual behavior almost everywhere in the animal kingdom. What is really curious is how important are these personality differences in the real life of animals?
Research in this area is still “a wilderness”. However, John Quinn, a behavioral ecologist at Cork University in Ireland, believes that more and more evidence shows that personality differences are indeed important, not only for individuals, but also for populations and entire ecosystems. For example, for a “adventurous” fish, it can find more food, grow faster, and reach sexual maturity faster. However, it also bears a greater risk-being killed by a predator. So when there are fewer predators around, it will do well and find more food. For the “shy and vigilant” fish, the energy is not particularly concentrated when looking for food, but when the risk of predation is high, it does better than its “daring and adventurous” species.
Robin’s character battle
Renee Duckworth, a scholar at the University of Arizona in the United States, is also doing similar research, revealing how personality differences affect the behavior of mountain robins (North American birds with blue feathers on their backs and heads).
Obviously, the bold and brave mountain bluebirds are better able to enter new territories and fight for their future “living”. But for spending so much time and energy to gain territory, one must pay a price, and that is limited reproduction-they raise fewer offspring than timid robins. When the North American robins and the mountain blue robins “close contact”, these differences are even more significant. At this time, the brave and bold North American robins prospered because they can expand to greater distances and wider ranges to build bird nests.
However, once their respective territories were attacked by other animals, the advantage began to turn to the relatively timid mountain bluebirds. This is because they are better parents. They have raised many young birds before, and they can always leave behind some offspring even if they are attacked.
This shows that one kind of personality is an advantage in a certain context, but not in another context.
A mixture of multiple sexes
If you consider not only the bold and shy personality traits, but also other aspects of the personality, the situation is more complicated.
Quinn investigated the number of great tits in the Wetham Forest near Oxford University in the United Kingdom and found that although the courageous great tits can get better and more food, timid competitors can also survive and reproduce. Now suppose that the timid big tit also has another personality trait: good at solving problems, this kind of personality allows the timid big tit to find a lot of hidden food or alternative food.
Surprisingly, there is no difference in survival between the bold big tits (good at competition) and the timid big tits (good at solving problems). This shows that they have adopted different strategies to overcome a common challenge-how to find adequate food.
Quinn believes that once you consider the large number of survival challenges that great tits must overcome, you can’t just consider one personality trait, it must be a mixture of multiple personalities, which makes the behavioral diversity of species very complicated.
Leader and follower
Where there are rivers and lakes, there is a boss, where there is a society, there are leaders, and animal society is no exception. The larvae of Cyan sawfly are insects unique to Australia. They are greedy herbivores and can make a eucalyptus tree bare in a few days. When they migrate in large numbers to new “pastures”, certain larvae in the colony often act as guides.
The study found that compared to groups with only followers, groups composed of mixed personality types enable the collective to have more abilities, and animals also benefit from the diversified personalities in mixed groups. For example, the big tits in the Witham Forest, the most successful wintering group is the group that has both bold and shy big tits.
In addition, biologists who study gregarious spiders pointed out that a well-functioning team is fundamental. If the “colonization” fails, all members will die as a result, so they must work for the benefit of the collective. Therefore, spiders will weave “public spider webs” to chase, kill and process prey together. Individuals are very different in personality. From aggressive to docile and obedient, the success of the team depends on the combination of different personalities. Because research has found that when the prey is small, the docile spider is more likely to succeed, and when the prey is common, the aggressive spider dominates the hunt.
The most interesting thing is that if you mess up the type composition within the spider colony, they will “fix” themselves. And their method of repair is to adjust the number of offspring to reproduce. For example, when there are too many aggressive individuals in a spider colony suddenly, their aggressive types may stop reproducing or reduce the number of reproduction, while the docile types do the opposite and increase the number of reproductive offspring.