Predator avoidance behaviour in wild and hatchery‐reared brown trout: the role of experience and domestication

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Juvenile brown trout Salmo trutta from natural populations reacted to the presence of piscivorous brown trout by increasing the use of refuges. In contrast, second‐generation hatchery fish and the offspring of wild fish raised under hatchery conditions were insensitive to predation risk. The diel pattern of activity also differed between wild and hatchery brown trout. Second‐generation hatchery fish were predominantly active during daytime regardless of risk levels. Wild fish, however, showed a shift towards nocturnal activity in the presence of predators. These findings emphasize the potential role of domestication in weakening behavioural defences. They support the idea that the behavioural divergence between wild and domesticated individuals can arise from a process of direct or indirect selection on reduced responsiveness to predation risk, or as a lack of previous experience with predators.

Keywords: Salmo trutta; antipredator behaviour; delayed effects; domestication; refuge use

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: December 1, 2003

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