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Melanin-based colouration predicts aggressiveness and boldness in captive eastern Hermann's tortoises
Although body colouration is often used in social interactions, few studies have tested whether colouration is linked to a suite of behavioural traits. In the present study, we examined whether among captive adult male Eastern Hermann's tortoises (Eurotestudo boettgeri) behavioural patterns covary with eumelanic colouration of the shell. Dark eumelanic males were more aggressive in male-male confrontations and bolder towards humans. These relationships were independent of body size and ambient temperature. Activity level and exploration were not significantly associated with colouration. We conclude that at least in captivity shell colouration predicts agonistic behaviour towards conspecifics and fearfulness towards human (i.e. boldness).
activity, aggressiveness, behavioural syndrome, boldness, coloration, Eurotestudo boettgeri, exploration, melanin, personality, tortoise
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