Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science - Biology



First Advisor

Daniel J. Bennett

Second Advisor

Jennifer Gumm

Third Advisor

Beatrice Clack

Fourth Advisor

D. Brent Burt

Fifth Advisor

Nathan Sparkman


Stomatopods, or mantis shrimp, are small, predatory crustaceans of tropical and subtropical waters. Mantis shrimp research has focused largely on their agonistic interactions and complex visual systems. Despite their broad behavioral repertoire, stomatopods have not yet been investigated for consistent behavioral differences at the individual level, referred to as animal personality. Fifteen individual Neogonodactylus oerstedii were tested in three scenarios designed to measure potential differences in behaviors: 1) exploration of a novel environment, 2) response to and recovery from a startling event, and 3) response to a novel object. Each individual went through the series of tests twice, with a 14-day interval, to test for consistency over time. Sixteen measured behavioral variables were found to be statistically significantly repeatable. Six of these variables were run through factor analysis and found to align with three factors: one representing exploration, and two representing boldness (foraging prior to startling event, and startle recovery). Overall, the findings suggest that these stomatopods do exhibit personality. Combining a study of exploration and boldness with possible differences in agonistic behaviors could give greater insight to the ecological significance of personality in mantis shrimp.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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