Behavioural responses to repeated trials in captivity can be driven by many factors including rearing environment, population of origin, habituation to captivity/trial conditions and an individual's behavioural type (e.g., bold versus shy). We tested the effect of rearing environment (captive raised common-garden versus wild-caught) and population origin (range-edge versus range-front) on the responses of invasive cane toads (Rhinella marina) to repeated exploration and risk-taking assays in captivity. We found that behavioural responses to identical assays performed on two occasions were complex and showed few consistent patterns based on rearing environment or population of origin. However, behavioural traits were repeatable across Trial Blocks when all sample populations were grouped together, indicating general consistency in individual toad behaviour across repeated behavioural assays. Our findings exemplify the complexity and unpredictability of behavioural responses and their effects on the repeatability and interpretation of behavioural traits across repeated behavioural assays in captivity. To meaningfully interpret the results from repeated behavioural assays, we need to consider how multiple factors may affect behavioural responses to these tests and importantly, how these responses may affect the repeatability of behavioural traits across time.
- Bufo marinus