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Relationship between eyed-egg percentage and levels of cortisol and thyroid hormone in masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou

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A possible cause of the low eyed-egg percentage that afflicts pond-reared masu salmon Oncorhynchus masou at a fish hatchery (Kumaishi Fish Hatchery, Hokkaido, Japan) was investigated. Serum cortisol levels of masu salmon during the spawning period were compared between individuals from Kumaishi and those from another station (Mori). Cortisol, thyroxine (T4) and triiodothyronine (T3) hormones were also measured in eyed eggs and their levels were compared to the eyed-egg percentage. Serum cortisol levels were significantly higher at Kumaishi than at Mori in May and July of the breeding season. At the Kumaishi station, there was a linear positive relationship between serum cortisol and fertilized-egg cortisol levels of female masu salmon. As cortisol levels in both ovulating females and eyed eggs increased, the eyed-egg percentage decreased, indicating a highly significant negative relationship between cortisol levels and eyed-egg percentage. In contrast, as T3 and T4 levels in eyed eggs increased, the eyed-egg percentage increased. The strong positive correlation between high cortisol levels in serum and in eyed eggs at Kumaishi indicates that the frequently higher cortisol levels may have caused the lowering of the eyed-egg percentage.

Keywords: cortisol; masu salmon; survival rates; thyroid hormones

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: Division of Marine Biosciences, Graduate School of Fisheries Science, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido 060-0809, Japan 2: Hokkaido Fish Hatchery, Eniwa, Hokkaido 061-1433, Japan

Publication date: April 1, 2007


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