Group Composition Of Individual Personalities Alters Social Network Structure In Experimental Populations Of Forked Fungus Beetles

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Biology Letters


Social network structure is a critical group character that mediates the flow of information, pathogens and resources among individuals in a population, yet little is known about what shapes social structures. In this study, we experimentally tested whether social network structure depends on the personalities of individual group members. Replicate groups of forked fungus beetles (Bolitotherus cornutus) were engineered to include only members previously assessed as either more social or less social. We found that individuals expressed consistent personalities across social contexts, exhibiting repeatable numbers of interactions and numbers of partners. Groups composed of more social individuals formed networks with higher interaction rates, higher tie density, higher global clustering and shorter average shortest paths than those composed of less social individuals. We highlight group composition of personalities as a source of variance in group traits and a potential mechanism by which networks could evolve.


animal personality, group composition, social networks, forked fungus beetles

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