Personality and Parental Care in the Corkwing Wrasse (Symphodus melops)
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Parental care in many species is a repeatable aspect of the behavioural phenotype, in some cases covarying with other behavioural traits within wider behavioural syndromes. It is well understood that in several freshwater fishes, recreational and commercial fisheries often (directly or indirectly) impact traits concerning parental care adversely, in some cases through selection on covarying behavioural traits. In contrast, studies on commercially fished marine species that exhibit parental care are scarce. The corkwing wrasse (Symphodus melops) is a marine fish with complex reproductive behaviour, with parental males exhibiting nest building and parental care behaviours. This species is also subject to a size selective commercial fishery, that makes use of methods known to target bolder and more aggressive individuals. I investigated the boldness and aggression of 14 parental males in the field, while collecting video data of their parental care behaviour. I then tested for relationships between boldness and aggression and three key parental care behaviours, to determine if personality can be linked to parental care quality in this species. My results show consistent repeatable differences between individuals in all tests of boldness and aggression. Additionally, I also suggest that overall bolder individuals exhibit higher quality of parental care while more aggressive individuals exhibit a reduction in quality. This study provides the first evidence of personality influencing parental care behaviours in this species, as well as highlighting the potential impacts of this link in the context of fisheries-induced selection.