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Movement of a South American perch Percichthys trucha in a mountain Patagonian lake during spawning and prespawning periods

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Movement of the South American perch Percichthys trucha (Perciformes: Percichthyidae) was studied in a set of interconnected mountain lakes in northern Patagonia. Fish were tracked using attached acoustic tags and a fixed hydrophone array over two seasons, corresponding to the spawning (1999) and prespawning periods (2000). Percichthys trucha was found to move throughout the lake system, and to use a small, shallow, connected lake as a principal spawning area. In addition, detailed behavioural information was obtained for the spawning period. Most fish spent the initial 2 weeks descending from the littoral zone to depths of 5–8 m, presumably while feeding. Fish changed depth slowly, spending several days at each depth, and moving throughout the lake. A few days prior to the full moon, there was a change in behaviour thought to be associated with spawning, where the fish moved toward the vegetated littoral areas. Marked daily behaviour also began at this time, with movement to particular near-shore locations at dusk, and return to slightly greater depths offshore at or before dawn. Study of the behaviour of P. trucha during the breeding season has highlighted the conservation significance of the main locations within the lake system.

Keywords: Patagonia; Percichthys; daily; movement; telemetry

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, B3H 4J1 Canada 2: Centro Regional Universitario Bariloche, Universidad Nacional del Comahue, Quintral 1250 Bariloche, 8400 Río Negro, Argentina

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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