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Predator‐induced hyperventilation in wild and hatchery Atlantic salmon fry

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Following exposure to a predator stimulus (a brown trout Salmo trutta), the opercular rate of Atlantic salmon Salmo salar fry increased by 35·3 ± 11·0%(mean ± 95% CI). The time taken for opercular rate to decline to baseline levels depended upon the occurrence of any associated locomotory activity. Opercular rates of fish that dashed when exposed remained elevated for 38·2 ± 20·6 min, whereas those of individuals that did not move (‘freezers’) recovered within 7·2 ± 2·9 min. The duration that opercular rate remained elevated was positively correlated with the magnitude of the elevation, which was higher in ‘dashers’ than freezers. The maximum opercular rate in ‘freezers’ was similar between wild fry and hatchery‐reared fry (from wild parents). There was a significant delay, however, in hatchery compared with wild fry in the time until peak ventilatory response and onset in the decline phase. This difference in opercular response suggests that hatchery fish were slower to realize fully the potential danger from the predator. Any delay in response could be directly attributed to the effect of hatchery‐rearing environment, rather than domestication or hatchery selection effects.

Keywords: Salmo salar; antipredator; breathing; opercular rate

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Gatty Marine Laboratory, University of St Andrews, St Andrews, Fife, KY16 8LB, Scotland, U.K. and 2: Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory, Faskally, Pitlochry, Perthshire, PH16 5LB, Scotland, U.K.

Publication date: 2004-12-01

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