Does exploratory behaviour predict predatory behaviour in the Aussie bronze jumping spider (Helpis minitabunda)? : a thesis presented in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Science in Conservation Biology at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand

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Individual variation in behaviour, also known as animal personality, has been described in diverse taxa for hundreds of years. However, it is only recently that information about the influence of personality traits on populations and ecosystem dynamics has started to emerge. Predator-prey interactions are important drivers of evolutionary processes, shaping communities and altering trophic cascades. Most studies to date that have investigated the links between personality and predation have focussed on the effects of personality traits of prey on predator-prey interactions. It is becoming increasingly evident that the personality traits of predators and the interactions between predator and prey personalities also influence predatory interactions. Personality assays are usually performed in the laboratory where researchers have greater control over environmental variables than in field assays. However, the controlled environment of the laboratory may change animal behaviour leading to results that are not ecologically relevant. In my thesis, I first investigated whether individual performance in emergence and exploration assays is correlated between laboratory and field environments in the Aussie bronze hopper (Helpis minitabunda; Araneae, Salicidae) (Chapter Two). Then, using what I learned in Chapter Two about the design of exploration assays, I investigated whether exploration behaviour in H. minitabunda is correlated with predatory behaviour (Chapter Three). While I found no correlation in emergence behaviour between my laboratory-based and field-based assays, there was a strong correlation in exploration behaviour. I also found no correlations between exploration behaviour and predatory behaviour. This suggests that laboratory-based exploration assays, but not emergence assays, are likely to generate ecologically relevant results in the jumping spider H. minitabunda. However, exploration behaviour may not be a good predictor of predatory behaviour in jumping spiders. Further testing with more complex arenas and different types of prey may be more likely to show a relationship between exploration and predation behaviour. The results of my research support the use of laboratory assays to test personality traits but also highlight the importance of comparative tests to check that laboratory assays reflect behaviour in more natural environments. My results will hopefully encourage further research investigating personality traits and their influence on predator-prey interactions.