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Innate predator recognition and fright response in related populations of Oncorhynchus mykiss under different predation pressure

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Innate predator recognition and fright response behaviours were compared in a laboratory study between second generation offspring from two related populations of steelhead trout Oncorhynchus mykiss from Sashin Creek, Alaska. The stream population was anadromous and co-occurred with Dolly Varden Salvelinus malma, a piscivore and salmonid predator. Sashin Lake, formerly fishless, was stocked with fish from the stream population in 1926 and that population has been isolated from heterospecific piscine predation ever since. Fish from the lake population were predicted to show diminished innate fright response to Dolly Varden scent relative to the stream population. The behaviour of 60 individual juvenile O. mykiss from each population was measured and observed in aquaria before and after exposure to chemical cues of Dolly Varden, conspecific skin extract, or a control of distilled water. The alarm substances caused significant behavioural changes in both populations in the amount of time spent motionless, time spent in the lower water column and feeding frequency. No significant differences were observed between the stream and lake populations in the change in behaviour between pre- and post-stimulus observation periods for any of the measured fright responses, indicating that the sequestered lake population has not lost the ability to detect or respond to conspecific alarm substances or Dolly Varden scent.

Keywords: Oncorhynchus mykiss; Salvelinus malma; predator recognition; scent

Document Type: Regular Paper


Affiliations: 1: NOAA-Fisheries, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Manchester Research Station, P. O. Box 130, Manchester, Washington 98353, U.S.A. 2: NOAA-Fisheries, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, 11305 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801-8626, U.S.A. 3: University of Alaska Fairbanks, Juneau Center, 11120 Glacier Highway, Juneau, Alaska 99801, U.S.A.

Publication date: April 1, 2007


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